Why Our Test Is Called a "Multifactor Test"

Dmitri Lytov, Marianna Lytova, April 2006
Edited by Rick DeLong


Our test is a MULTIFACTOR tool. What does this mean?

Imagine a car: it consists of many different blocks, and these may be disassembled into an even greater number of parts. However, when these parts are disassembled, will the car start? Of course not. It will not start even when they are assembled and the gas tank is filled, if the ignition is not on.

Another example: a human. A specialist in medicine may know the parts of his/her body, but the "disassembled" body of a dead person is not the same as a living body.

In the same way, when we analyze the human psyche, we can artificially separate some factors in order to study them; however, we should not forget that in reality these factors interact and often "overshadow" each other, distort each other, and are ever changing: some of them change very slowly, over the course of years and even decades, while others change every minute. Yet others may be unstable, remaining unchanged for a very long time until one day a more important factor comes into play and changes it.

What about the Jungian types then? The dichotomies, which are understood slightly differently in the Myers-Briggs typology and other post-Jungian typologies, are just dead parts of a living body. It happens very often that an inexperienced "typologist" who has read some popular books (written by Kroeger and Thuesen, Tiegers, etc. not bad books, after all) wants to try do determine other peoples types. The simple questionnaires and tables one can find in these books are often subject to distortion (due to peoples education, experience, social values, etc.). For example, I have noticed that educated Americans prefer to be N, while people with a lower social status believe they are S (even more, readers of MBTI-like books are often convinced that "sensers cannot be good leaders and/or managers, that's ABSOLUTELY impossible!"). Being J is perceived as a positive trait (a decisive person? a winner? That's me for sure!) and P as negative.

Very often questions are formulated vaguely, based on doubtful presumptions, and/or allow for multiple interpretations (for example, Keirsey does not differentiate "what I am" from "what I like"according to his questionnaire, they are absolutely the same).

What about Jungian functions? They are slightly more "living" than the dichotomies. However, Myers and Briggs accepted Jung's original descriptions of functions "as is," which finally resulted in contradictions in their typology. Socionics, on the other hand, slightly reformed descriptions of the functions for the sake of logical consistency (e.g., when we speak of introverted functions, introversion should manifest itself similarly for all the introverted functions.

However, both functions and dichotomies are "disassembled parts" of the whole living psyche. When we speak of S or N types, dominant Se or Si functions, etc., we forget that each individual's psyche contains ALL EIGHT FUNCTIONS: one of them is the strongest, others are weaker, some are "overshadowed" by stronger functions, and others are unstable and/or trainable. In the same way, even people with T as their strongest function have feelings and emotions perhaps more inert and/or less developed than those of F types, but they still have these emotions. The same is applicable to the other 3 dichotomies.

When we speak of the dominant function, or about preference toward a certain pole of a dichotomy (e.g. "S rather than N"), we mean that the magnitude (if we can use this word) of the dominant pole is greater than the average value for the population as a whole (or for the given social group, at least). Imagine that we measured the S and N of all the people in the world (using any method). We will consider sensers to be those whose S value is greater than average, and intuiters to be those whose N value is greater than average (let's assume that S and N are mutually exclusive factors, although this has NOT YET BEEN PROVEN by any typologist).

This means that we can evaluate dichotomies and functions only in terms of statistics and mathematical probability.

Here is how our test works. Initially we only had hypotheses about the correlation of our test questions with socionic factors (dichotomous criteria, functions etc.). The test represented a mathematical "self-training" program. We "trained" our test on a group of more than a hundred people whose types were known "for sure" (in other words, acknowledged by them, by other socionists and by us). The test analyzed their answers and extracted various factors from their replies. We could, for example, "extract" questions responsible for T/F; however, each question had its coefficient and dispersion, i.e., their value in determining T/F was not equal. In the same way we evaluated Jung's functions (the dominant and the auxiliary function separately, according to socionics theory), other hypothetical factors and, finally, the correlation between the questions and the types as integral entities. We need to explain the last sentence. For example, there was a question responsible for rather T than F, rather Te than Ti... and among the 8 Thinking types, some types more often answered "yes" to this question than other types. Very often questions correlated better with a group of factors than with a single factor (for example, a question could be evaluated as a rather EF-question instead of either a "pure E"-question or a "pure F"-question).

We are not going to reveal the mechanism of the test it is our know-how. However, we hope that we have helped you to understand how our test works. If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to ask us. We will gladly reply.