The psyche in Humanitarian socionics is considered to be a three-level system of layers stacked on top of each other: the buried core, the middle layers, and the surface. The quality and stability of these layers naturally change from the buried core to the outer shell. The closer we are to the outer surface, the more mobile the psyche is, and the less energy it takes to transform it.
The actual type is located in the buried core. This structure of the psyche does not change throughout life (it has maximum rigidity and stability). The duration of its existence is equal to the duration of the existence of the psychic system itself. Thus, the socionic type is the invariant of the psyche. To directly detect and "open" it, one needs to apply maximum load to the psyche. Further above the core lies a middle layer, which does not have an absolute, but only relative stability. It is called the variant of the type, or the subtype. Relative stability means that the subtype can change, although this happens rarely and only under the influence of strong life shocks at the moments when the psyche is in the transition states (for example, adolescence, mid-life crisis, etc.). In the case of the individual psyche, we are talking about a period of tens of years. The type variant manifests itself primarily as a person's tendency to perform a certain role in their primary group.
And finally, the softest and most mobile psychic layer is formed on the outside - the functional profile, which is often an imprint of the current conditions for the type carrier. It exists for as long as the type carrier stays in it. The normal life of a profile is about several years. In this case, they also talk about stereotypes of behavior. For example, the army environment makes a person rougher, female education contributes to the formation of a profile with extra emotionality, etc. It is the multilayered psyche that explains the difficulty of unambiguous diagnosis of the type. When viewed in detail and carefully at a close distance, the observer is presented with a bizarre picture of enhanced and weakened functions, which resembles an overlap of two, and sometimes more, types.
In addition, the current functional state should not be excluded (this part of the psyche is not indicated in the diagram for the sake of simplicity). It is often considered as the fourth and the shortest-lived layer of the psyche. For example, when people collectively rejoice in some significant event, for example, a celebration, they all find themselves in the ethical-extroverted state "E", etc. Thus, the functional state is short-lived (in an individual it lasts from a few minutes to several hours) and completely situational. It can be thought of as a local "spike" on the functional profile.
Humanitarian socionics recommends the following order of observing a three-level model of the psyche (the current state is usually not recorded): type – subtype - enhanced functions.
An image of the Self (a person's idea of himself) usually focuses on the middle layers of the psyche and above (the level of subtype and accentuated functions). Awareness of the pure (core) type is easily visible to only complete individuals with an adequate self-esteem. It must be remembered that the real people can consciously or semi-consciously focus on several mental layers at once – they think one thing, say another, and behave in a third way.
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