Visual identification, or "VI", as it is commonly called, refers to the process of identifying socionic types based on visual information alone. Depending what method the socionist has developed, this term may refer to any of the following:
- diagnosing types based on photographs or their appearance and movements in video
- diagnosing types based on people's appearance and movements in real life
- using the above as part of the type diagnosis process, but not exclusively
Most often, among enthusiasts, to VI someone means making a guess about a type based on photographs.
Among socionists who render typing services for a fee, a pure VI approach is rare. Many proponents of visual identification are not confident enough of their method to rely solely upon pictures. Here is a list of those who diagnose based on photos alone:
- Timofey Dukhovskoy (St. Petersburg, Russia), also known as "Tipolog" (The Typologist).
- "Physiognomical Socionics" website (Russian only)
- Anatoliy Grechinsky (Kiev, Ukraine)
- "Research Inculcating Сompany "Socionic Technologies" website (somewhat readable English)
It should be noted that neither of these socionists communicates much with other socionists or is particularly respected among the community of socionists (Grechinsky more so than Dukhovskoy). This is because of their claims of infallibility and authoritarian attitude. Perhaps there are other lesser known socionists who diagnose types using VI alone but are not stigmatized.
Among those who apply VI in type diagnosis, two groups can be recognized:
- Those who associate static (unchanging physiological) facial and body features with socionic traits and types.
- Those who associate dynamic (changing, non-physiological) aspects of a person's appearance, facial expressions, poses and movements with socionic traits and types.
Use of either or both of the above approaches as one of the considerations in type diagnosis is common among socionists.
Typing by static facial and physical features
Typing by dynamic, changeable facial and physical features
With greater experience in diagnosing types comes a certain intuitive "sense" for each type's behavior. Experienced socionists can often identify a new acquaintance's type very quickly, even within minutes, by subconscious comparison with past acquaintances. However, these kinds of typings are always subject to further testing.
For typing celebrities, Youtube and Google videos are quite useful (especially interviews), as they allow a glimpse into a person's moment-to-moment mannerisms, which are usually the foundation of typing individuals in person. In some cases, striking examples of intertype relations can also be found in videos.
Example(s) of video analysis
Bill Maher - Christopher Hitchens: an example of Conflict
This video (and other slightly different versions) shows a rather intense exchange between author Christopher Hitchens and talk show host Bill Maher. It starts with Hitchens making his point by listing facts that support his argument (that the Iranian president is a serious threat). He does the same later when listing those who have made "stupid Bush" jokes. That is the use of . Maher counter-argues by flatly making a statement on Bush "so does George Bush, by the way" based on his own views of Bush, without making his case or addressing Hitchen's points themselves. That is , which in the specific situation and timing acts by steering the emotional atmosphere of the audience, leading to the loud laughter. Hitchens gets annoyed at his arguments being simply ignored and neutralized by ; other types might be influenced by it and laugh themselves, but Hitchens attacks it heads-on when he says that the audience is "frivolous" and "will clap at anything". He is displaying focus on his own inner state rather than on the external state of the room, which even affronts him, backing that with his aggressive use of profanity which in the situation can be seen as use of . The same pattern is repeated in the later discussion on "stupid Bush" jokes. Hitchens is using , and strongly focusing on his over the external external emotional atmosphere. These are the functional preferences of the Gamma quadra and of Hitchen's likely type, ESI. Maher's own functional use is not so clear in this version of the video, but here he focuses on points and relies on steering the emotional atmosphere of the audience; he does not even try to respond to Hitchen's somewhat aggressive stance and retains a sort of "let's look at the funny side" stance; Maher has preference on over . His functional preferences are consistent with the Alpha quadra and so of Maher's own likely type, ILE. Their types are Conflictors.