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Socionics Conference

My report from Kiev, Ukraine, September 2006

Each year the Kiev Socionics Conference takes place in September in the "House of Scientists" — a community building for academic conferences in the center of Kiev. For many years this was the only socionics conference and was even held yearly during the dismal years of economic collapse after the fall of the Soviet Union. I attended the conference for the first time in 2001, and this year, in 2006, the number of attendees has increased from about 80 to about 120. To speak at the conference one needs to contact the International Institute of Socionics and provide an abstract of one's presentation.

beginning of socionics conference
Aleksandr Bukalov opens the conference

The conference is fair well-organized. There is a registration desk on the first day where attendees receive their badges, pay the attendence fee (40 hryvnia, or $8 USD this year), and fill out a brief registration card. During the conference, Aleksandr Bukalov presides over the conference at the front of the auditorium, often adding comments between and during talks, which irritates some people. Talks are held from 10 am to 6 or 7 pm with a lunch break. After each talk the audience is allowed to ask questions (they always do).

About half of the conference attendees are speakers; the other half are visitors. For the most part, these are people who have dedicated their lives to mental pursuits. Many people have an unkempt, "academic" appearance and are dressed in old-fashioned clothes. The vast majority of speakers are intuiters. As a result, the conference is somewhat dry, like scientific conferences tend to be. Among the talks are both theoretical works and reports on practical applications of socionics — including testing methods, experiments, and observations from one's professional activities. A few speakers read their talks (as I did, in order handle my nervousness), but mostly they speak directly to the audience, glancing occasionally at notes. A few of the speakers use the overhead projector, and once in a while they use PowerPoint presentations.

The conference is attended by people from Ukraine, Russia, Belarussia, and occasionally Lithuania. I am the only foreigner to have visited the conference who is not an emigrant from the former Soviet Union.

Here are brief reports on the talks given, with types included when they are known. Also, pages on most of the authors below with photos can be accessed at using babelfish (link is to English translation).

Aleksandr Bukalov (ILE - photo) opened the conference and talked about the development of socionics and increasing organizational interest in it. In his second talk (immediately after the first) he talked about the Institute's experience consulting organizations and observations about the interaction of types and quadras in these organizations.

Viktor Gulenko (LII - photo) spoke about some of the additional categories used by his school to distinguish between subtypes. The need to use subtypes arises naturally as one deals with many people of the same type and deals with many different "varieties" of relationships of one type. The number of subtypes used depends on the number of people in the groups you are working with. Systems of 4, 8, 16 or more subtypes can be useful depending on the size of the group. It doesn't matter whether these subtypes "exist" or not, since their role is functional.

Gulenko talked about his system of 4 subtypes that used 3 poles. I found this system better than other subtype systems I've heard because it uses natural, non-socionic categories that have a physiological basis, rather than systems such as "accented super-Ego" or "accented functions." I hope to nab him for an interview on the subject.

Grigoriy Shulman (IEI - photo), a socionics old-timer who has written on duality in the past, gave a strange talk on numerology and some patterns that, according to him, influence dual contact and can produce results similar to duality, but in other relations.

Vladimir Yermak (LII - photo) talked about the category of "time" and its relation to the socionic elements extraverted intuition and introverted intuition. Obviously, the concept of "time" we use in everyday life has almost nothing to do with introverted intution. Time is about "changes." I expect to cover this topic more, since he gave me some disks with his work.

talk at socionics conference
Galina Chikirisova speaking.

Semyon Churyumov (ILE - photo), an elderly academician with a long, thin beard and happy-go-lucky attitude, talked about the need to get rid of the concept of functional signs (+ or -) because they are logically superfluous.

Galina Chikirisova (ILE - photo) talked about the socionic analysis of philosophical and religious systems. She talked about subtle differences between the mentalities of western and eastern people and between orthodox and protestant religions and related these differences to socionic characterists, especially integral types. Galina is well-informed about different religions and their characteristics.

Aleksandr Tikhonov (? - photo) talked about management, organizational culture, and his consulting experience.

talk at socionics conference
Rick DeLong speaking.

Richard DeLong (IEE - photo) talked about the development of socionics in the West, the influence of Meyers-Briggs typology, the importance of the Internet in the development of a socionics community, and the interests and problems of this community. The audience listened with great interest and asked about the quality of English translations on the socionics institute's site, about why people in the West weren't interested in learning Russian, whether Keirsey's typology was the same as Meyers-Briggs', and whether people from non-English speaking countries were interested in socionics.
--> Text of presentation in Russian (babelfish translation available as well)

Igor Litvinenko (ILI? - photo) is a mathematician and, due to the purely theoretical nature of his work, I didn't understand a thing.

Aleksey Trehkov and Pavel Tsypin (ILE and IEE - photo) talked about Reinin traits and how they are manifested. I wasn't around.

Vladimir Mironov (LIE - photo) has a large website that talks about his group's research in St. Petersburg. Their research and experiments are among the most interesting and competent in socionics. Mironov spoke about the "semantics of the information elements" — in other words, which phrases and sentiments are related to which information elements. He recently published a book on the topic that I have just bought and am very excited about.

Tatyana Prokofieva (ILE - photo) spoke on the type masks that people often wear and what these masks tell about the person's state and problems depending on the intertype relations between the type mask and the person's actual type.

Prokofieva's second talk was on phases of development in socionics and what developmental tasks need to be resolved at the present time.

Andrey Dmitriev (IEE - photo), who runs the site and conducts psychological trainings, attended the conference for the first time and gave an effective PowerPoint presentation on the principles behind his system of written tests.

Olga Karpenko (SEI - photo) spoke about the Institute's experience teaching people socionics, and the stages of development that people pass through as they learn to type — student, trainee, and expert. She talked about the approaches and problems of each stage.

M. Matvienko is a psychological trainer and spoke on the subject of personal missions and their relation to socionic type.

books for sale at the socionics conference
Viktor Sayenko (right), from Moscow, peddles socionics and other literature at the conference.

Viktor Sayenko (SLE), who travels around the former Soviet Union selling socionics books, criticized the "law of quadra succession."

Yuriy Simonov (SEE), a pop-writer, spoke on types in Internet dating — how different types tend to act and present themselves in Internet dating.

Vladimir Yermak (LII) gave an interesting lecture on typical situations and problems that arise in the process of identifying socionic types using interviews and guidelines for overcoming them, as well as ethical behavioral guidelines.

Veronika Shlaina (ESI) gave a talk on "resources for personal development" that covered a lot of ethical material.

Semyon Churyumov spoke on Yermak's interpretation of Model "A" and good-naturedly criticized some aspects of it, to which Yermak promptly replied.

Talks that I missed:

A.S. Devyatkin - Quadra values and integrating relations in the quadra.

A.P. Mitrokhina - The questim/declatim dichotomy in typing practice.

T.N. Prokofieva - Socionics and psychosophy. 384 types of information and energy interchange.

P.E. Tsypin - On the genre of socionics drama pieces (?).

I.V. Marinich - Socionic models as analytical technologies — the formula of government order (?).

Dmitriy Ivanov (ILE) - A particularly rare form of alcoholism

P.V. Maksimov - Should we consider Pluto a planet? (archetypes, human fears, etc.)

V.V. Gulenko - Experimental work with groups. The experience of the School of Humanitarian Socionics.

V.L. Talanov (ILI) - Content and physiological interpretation of socionic traits "constructivist/emotivist," "tactician/strategist," "accommodating/stubborn," and "carefree/careful."

I.Y. Litvinenko - Modern socionics: the problems are over. Part 2. Inner structure.

A. Osipov - On the interrelation and arrangement of Reinin traits.


There were many other talks during the rest of the conference, but I was not able to attend them, so I have not listed them here.

09/19/2006 Expat
Very nice report, it's a pity that they don't seem to have print copies of all talks.


- on introverted intuition: I see a great deal of controversy on the "time" thing. Personally I see a great deal of value on the time-flow aspect, especially in introverted intuition-creatives and introverted intuition-PoLR types. It is perhaps not the best way to describe it from the point of view of introverted intuition-dominants especially IEI. I think that to eliminate the "time" aspect from it totally is a mistake. Surely, that perception wasn't pulled out of thin air. Anyway, if you have the disks, it would be great if you could post it even in Russian.

- on the forum: I'm not sure that the description of views on VI there is accurate. To me it seems that only a very limited number of the fairly regular posters approach VI in the same way as eg the Vilnius School. Most of the others use - or try to use - a similar approach to yours, while there is also a considerable number that are totally skeptical of VI.

09/19/2006 Author
Some of the talks are later printed in journals, but not all (many weren't worthy of it). As far as introverted intuition is concerned, Vladimir Mironov and his colleagues just published a book I mentioned that should offer a ton of insights into the information elements and how they are manifest in speech and action. It's the most complete work of its kind to date, and I'll report on it after I digest it. It's got great stuff on introverted intuition (follow link!).

On V.I. The fact remains that V.I. gets an undue amount of attention on the English forums, and a large number of people do not realize that there are as many V.I. "methods" as there are socionists, and that the vast majority of people they see engaging in it on the popular Russian forums are diletants whose typings are little better than chance and are based on the crudest stereotypes and associations with just a few people the person has seen or heard of. I don't deny that V.I. can be turned into a powerful tool, but the amount of effort you'd need to put into it is much greater than people imagine; you'd have to study thousands of people you have met personally and their photographs and compare personal impressions to impressions from photos, formulate your findings, and collaborate with others who are doing the same thing.