Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Background

I have been checking out various personality typing assessments lately when I came across a Personality typing system known as Socionics which aims at explaining relationships between people of different types. It's based on some of Freud's ideas, Carl Jung's Psychological Types and Anthony Kepinski's theory of Information Metabolism.

Socionics uses a mixture of all the above to create its own sound theory about human psyche for each type of person. Socionics is considerably different from MBTI and other typing systems in its approach largely due to ideas from Information Metabolism.

While digging out more about Information Metabolism theory, I have found out that it implies things like information that is exchanged between people are like inputs and outputs from our brain. Socionics theory seems to extend this concept saying "Psychological features such as attention, interests, memory and motivation are components of this theory of information metabolism", because people differ in the way they process information.

Whether our brain really has parts corresponding to information elements like that is a different question, but I first doubt the scientific reason behind the theory of Information Metabolism. It seems to be based on Freud's ideas (which seem like mere observations), but yet on the other hand speaks about parts of brain.

Questions

  • Is this theory of Information Metabolism based on Scientific grounds?

  • Are there any theories/research like Information Metabolism that has been developed or in development and is/are scientific? Does CREATES brainset model qualify to be one such in development?

  • This may seem like a tangential question, but I will ask it because it's somewhat related: Do these Information Elements, provided they really exist, influence our facial expressions and body language while we interact with others?

The last question is to check out the validity of infamous Visual Identification used in Socionics communities for typing people by looking at them.

Other links

  • Wikipedia entry about Information Metabolism. (The resources in western community about Socionics and related theories are limited because the theory is largely developed in USSR and it looks like a counterpart of MBTI over there!)
  • A wiki about Socionics which has articles about the theory.
  • An excerpt from Carl Jung's Psychological Types which has been largely used in Socionics.
share|improve this question
1  
More appropriately, 'Is there a scientific basis for 'the theory of Information Metabolism'? –  Kris Aug 19 '12 at 7:36
    
@Kris: Not just a scientific basis, but also a reasonable explanation for the scientific basis and the development of theory that has been done. –  Forbidden Overseer Aug 20 '12 at 14:15
    
@ForbiddenOverseer Have you come to a conclusion? –  Decrypted Sep 5 '14 at 18:43
    
Nope... I would have answered it myself if I found something. Like I mentioned in the comments for the answer below, I don't suppose there's any scientific research done/being done in this area. If someone finds something worth looking at, it would be nice. –  Forbidden Overseer Sep 5 '14 at 18:49

2 Answers 2

Here's a link to a socionics wiki page on a study of reinin types in Russia. http://www.wikisocion.org/en/index.php?title=Reinin_Dichotomies:_Study_Results

They did a lot of research on experimental data to prove that reinin traits exist in different types of people.

If you don't know the reinin dichotomies, they are traits that were mathematically calculated by a Russian socionist named Grigoriy Reinin.

The traits are like the dichotomies of the types: sensation/intuition, logic/ethics that are combined to form a combination: INTp, ESFP, ESTj, INFj

The difference is that they categorize the combinations based on the patterns of traits.

For example, the reinin dichotomy Judicious/decisive is determined by whether the combination(socionics type) values Si and Ne(Judicious) or Se and Ni(Decisive).

So, the reinin dichotomy comes in as a further category of the already established types.

With that given, INTp and ESFp have Ni or Se as a first function or a suggestive function. Both of these functions are valued and so INTp and ESFp value Ni and Se. Therefore, they are categorized as Decisive because of definition I stated above (Decisive types value Se and Ni).

The names of this dichotomy would not have formed if this study of the Reinin types was not conducted. Using the correlation of identified types they find behaviors that align with these dichotomies.

For details of the study read this paragraph I have found that describes it:

In 2003, a socionics research group at the laboratory of interdisciplinary researches of The Institute of Biology and Psychology of Humans (IBPCH) has conducted a study which attempted to test for, characterize and substantially augment what is known about several Reinin groups, presented actual statements made by research subjects, as well as advance and test a number of hypotheses. Their publication can be found here: Reinin Dichotomies: Study Results.

The link that I have given you is the one stated in the paragraph above (Reinin Dichotomies: Study Results.)

This may not be about information metabolism or where or how it works in the brain but it is at least proof that there are types involved in different people and that there is a way to mark and categorize it. Also Model A, is not the only theory of socionics that exists, there are others that may have more potential like Model T.

Personally, I think that the psychological functions and aspects of socionics are just an extremely high model of the hierarchy of the mind. Very abstracted states of mind that survived in the evolution of humans or some other species before that. In other words, parts of the mind that can't be accessed through the brain structure. Rather, through something one could call as part of the "software" of the brain as apposed to the "hardware".

Instead of treating the aspects(Se,Ni,Fe,Ti,Te,Fi,Ne,Si) as physical parts of the brain structure(the "hardware") but rather as nothing but psychological and mental(the"software").

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, I have seen this article myself back when I posted this question. The wiki page links to another page as the source material, which looks like a product placement page, if not anything else. They say things like Renin theoretically proving (note the usage of "theoretical" and "proving" at the same time) the existence of these types, and link to some papers which, I can't find anywhere on the Internet, especially the ones Renin seem to have published. (continued in next comment.....) –  Forbidden Overseer Jul 17 '14 at 1:57
    
#2-comment: In the summary section of the same wiki page, they say stuff like "A few hypotheses regarding some of the attributes have not found confirmation in this experiment" and various other things like that, which makes me question the authenticity of the source material (the page linked to). By now, it's kinda obvious that this "proof for their hypothesis" failed at some cases, and yet they consider the whole thing to be scientific... how? What are these hypothesis, and how are they "proving" them? What research was done... none of these things are clear. (next comment will be the last) –  Forbidden Overseer Jul 17 '14 at 2:00
    
#3-comment: Regarding the software/hardware thing, I agree with your perspective. In fact, I myself use analogies like these to understand such aspects. Now, extending the same thing, we can also say that our life is nothing but an infinite loop of the source code (of some software - same may be?), and we're all stuck inside it at some point of "start"... all of this seems like a good way to understand stuff, but the problem is, again, do any of this dichotomy stuff observable? measurable? replicable? If not, then what's the point in reflecting on stuff that's not true/correct? –  Forbidden Overseer Jul 17 '14 at 2:08

Is the theory of Information Metabolism a reasonable scientific theory?

Short answer: No.

A literature search of Google Scholar and Web of Science for "information metabolism" finds no empirical evidence to support the theory. Furthermore, it appears that the theory of information metabolism is virtually only embraced directly by the author, Kępiński, himself.

However: It is based on scientifically sound principles of dissipative systems, thermodynamics and negentropy, as proposed by Nobel prize-winning physicist Ilya Prigogene. In some sense, though, it is based on science in the same sense a movie may be based on a true story. It's not a trivially wrong theory, but there does not appear to be any concrete support.

CREATES and theories resembling information metabolism theory

CREATES does not appear to have any scientific basis or relation to information metabolism theory whatsoever. However, the link you provided cites Carnot’s principle as a basis for the theory of information metabolism:

“the organism is an open system and its negentropy rises or falls as results of processes described by the laws of life conservation and species conservation, respectively”

This is very similar to the principles of more modern embodied dynamical systems approaches to explaining behavior, such as the ecological psychology of Mace, Turvey and Shaw. Both ecological and information metabolic approaches appear to be epistemologically dynamicist, and therefore share an epistemological stance. They appear to differ strongly on the content theory of the cause of behavior (i.e., on what constitutes a meaningful scale for behavioral analysis): information metabolism theory draws more heavily on Freud and Jung, while ecological psychology draws on the work of James J. Gibson.

Concluding remarks

Information metabolism theory is not a reasonable scientific theory in 2015, but neither was it scientifically stillborn in 1970. It appears to have been a theory invented before its time; in this, it is also like Gibson, who similarly lacked both the theoretical and mathematical tools to specify and formalize ideas. The popularization of those tools in behavioral science would eventually lead to the development of ecological psychology as a full fledged school of thought in the decades after Gibson's death.

In the case of information metabolism theory, however, it appears that either the theory was entirely subsumed into socionics and therefore no longer exists as an independent theory, or simply that no one took up the mantle as the scientific star of psychoanalytic approaches rapidly waned around the same time.

Edit: There seems to have been some limited attempts to update the theory for modern dynamical systems tools around the turn of the millenium (Kokoszka, 1999; Kokoszka, Bielecki and Holas, 2001), but still nothing empirical to validate it.

References

  • Kokoszka, A. (1999). Information metabolism as a model of human experiences. International journal of neuroscience, 97(3-4), 169-178.
  • Kokoszka, A., Bielecki, A., & Holas, P. (2001). Mental organization according to the metabolism of information model and its mathematical description. International Journal of Neuroscience, 107(3-4), 173-184.
share|improve this answer
    
The theory of information metabolism is also heavily embraced by socionics, which is not scientific work, as the question points out. –  aestrivex May 17 at 22:30

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.