I accidentally stumbled on an article about the death of MBTI yesterday. Strangely, it never occurred to me that there would be a wide audience interest in things like typologies in general and MBTI in particular. I always thought these were fairly specialized subjects only interesting for a minority of people. Since you seem to be interested, I present to you Socionics.
It all originated some time in the previous century with the works of Karl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist. His work was later built upon to create MBTI and later corrected and extended by people like Aušra Augustinavičiūtė, Gregory Reinin and Igor Kalinauskas to become Socionics. Nowadays Socionics is a young but fairly popular in narrow circles direction of social psychology. Actually, there are still raging debates on the subject of “where it all belongs”.
Socionics works with dichotomies of information processing functions and therefore describes how the given person filters and processes the information coming from outside, bases the decisions and outputs the information into the outside world. So Socionics is really a study in information metabolism of the psyche.
Given that, we can roughly say that a human being has some basic instincts at the base of its decision making, then there is the distinction between male and female, on top of that sits the information metabolism and that is all wrapped into a personality. The type of information metabolism determines those deep motivations inside the psyche that cause us to take many of our decisions. One has to note, of course, that different motives deep inside may cause nearly the same actions in different individuals. Different personalities may cause differentiation in actions based on the same motives.
Determining the type of information metabolism, or the socionic type, of a person is a task of uncovering those deep seated motivations that demonstrate how the given person processes the information. Tests for MBTI fail here because they try to correlate the behavior directly to the type but we see that the behavior is controlled by the personality. The type of information metabolism can be seen clearly when the practitioner concentrates on the motivations underlying the behavior. Unfortunately, the development of tests in this direction is far from mature yet and best results are based on the expert opinion so far.
So, the science develops further, MBTI has failed to deliver by concentrating on behavior, but Socionics definitely looks promising and it will certainly be quite interesting for all psychology practitioners to partake in.
And the practical value of this theory (compared to its “failed predecessors” is?..
First off, why would we need a practical value to enjoy a good typology? :) However, since Socionics is a practical thing we will not stop here. This particular typology has a benefit of clearly identifying how several facets of human interaction with each other and the society operate. Things like the creation and operation of information filters, bases for self-evaluation, self-fulfilment and such. Those are important things to understand and a person may spend a lot of time finding them out or use the psychological “technology” to identify.