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Merry / Serious

Merry types: ILE, LII, ESE, SEI, SLE, LSI, EIE, IEI

Serious types: LIE, ILI, SEE, ESI, LSE, SLI, IEE, EII

Aushra Augusta

Verbal-Labor Realization of Rational Half-Phases: Merry-Serious in Theory of Reinin Dichotomies, Part 5

Socionics Working Group - 2003 Study of Reinin traits


Merry are good at noticing the general emotional background that accompanies contact with people (For example: enthusiasm, fun, stress and so on). Fun (as, probably, every other emotional experience) for them is allocated into a separate aspects of activity (to a question "what were you doing" they can answer "we were having fun"—they perceive emotional engagement as a separate type of activity)

Merry types do not perceive "getting to know somebody" as a special kind of activity, in contrast to Serious types, for whom it is a kind of a ritual. They know very well why they are getting acquainted (the purpose of this acquaintance is interest, business, travel, and so on). In contrast to the Serious types, they do not divide the process of getting acquainted into consecutive stages. They immediately establish the necessary emotional distance in contact and can regulate it as needed. To bridge the gap between poorly acquainted people in a group they amp up the emotional tone—this can be mutually experienced happiness or misfortune. The "name" of the person is of secondary relevance for them. Interest towards the person and relations is primary here, thus Merry types do not consider formality as a necessary part of becoming acquainted with someone.

The Merry, in contrast to the Serious, is not inclined to derive "objectively accurate" rules and regularities, generalizing for this purpose his own experiences and experiences of others. Instead, the Merry assumes that other people have different criteria and their own views on any situation, therefore he determines whether his or someone else's actions were correct or incorrect by comparing them with his "subjective" view—he evaluates them in accordance to his personal concepts, "his system", his intentions, and so on. Merry are inclined to propose (or impose) not the "correct way" or another way to do things, but an entire conceptual framework on the subject i.e. they do not say "Do this differently" but rather "Look at it in another way". They do not think, in contrast to Serious, that in every situation there exists only one "objectively correct/true" way of doing something—in their opinion, there are many different ways of looking at and approaching a given situation. When they feel something was done incorrectly, they will likely ask: "What are you doing?" (In contrast to Serious who are likely to ask "Who does it this way?"). When they speak of optimality, they mean optimality within the framework of their idea or concept, within the framework of their subjective approach (from which point of view is it most optimal and in comparison to what). Therefore they strive to contrast other people's views to their own and to explain their position (to verify concepts): "If this is what is meant, we do this, if something else is meant, we do it differently."

"Comparison and verification of concepts" is a common phenomenon among Merry. It concerns not only their methods, but also their understanding, terminology, and so on. Merry are attuned to the fact that different people might understand and interpret different concepts and terms differently. They perceive terminology as well as actions of other people as a part of the subjective concept inseparable from personal opinion, position, intent, etc.: "So we have agreed that we shall call it this way". In contrast to Serious who perceive terminology as "objective", Merry understand personal differences behind terminology (this applies even to well established terms) and they attempt to compare and verify them ("Well you say this, but I think it's not so, but so-and-so").

Lexicon: when discussing actions and joint activities they use expressions such as "From my point of view", "According to my understanding", "To my knowledge", "personal criteria", "it corresponds to my understanding" "I have concluded" "he insisted" and so on. They describe verbal communication in detail—how their intervention in the situation is transpiring or why it's not happening.


Serious types poorly recognize common emotional background; they do not perceive emotionally infused conceptions (for example "fun") as separate and substitute them with interpretations that have no direct emotional elements. (Instead of the word "fun" they may use "entertainment", "leisure", "pleasure", and so on). They do not perceive emotional exchange as a separate occurrence and are inclined to mix it with other mutual matters (They can have fun while working, or engage in serious affairs while having fun.)

For Serious types, becoming acquainted with a new person constitutes a special ritual necessary for bridging the distance (If this ritual did not take place, then Serious types do not consider themselves to be acquainted, for example: "We did not introduce ourselves"). In such situations, for the Serious types it is easier if the degree of emotional distance was externally predetermined i.e. if it was set by some sort of "mediator", whether this be a person or circumstances of a given situation—this allows them to skip the first stages of becoming acquainted and move on to a closer dialogue and contact. For bridging the distance between strangers, Serious types create certain rules or rituals (or they use already existing ones) for the step-by-step association. They know the process of becoming acquainted very well (how a stranger becomes a familiar). For association, Serious type needs to know the name, title, any other information that describes the new person—therefore formal introduction for them is a very important stage of getting acquainted with someone.

Serious have a notion of what constitutes "objectively known" facts, rules, laws, regularities held in general (common) experience; in their perception there exist rules and guidelines that are "true in general" and "always correct". They suppose that other people can have their own views and positions, but do not consider that any action can be viewed as correct/incorrect only from a certain point of view (they allow for the existence of "objectively correct" actions). Therefore, from the point of view of an Serious, actions can be different—subjective, determined by personal preferences and motives, and objective, where there is only one "correct", "most effective" way to do something. Serious define actions as correct or incorrect contrasting them to their representation of what is "objectively correct". When they think that there is only one optimal solution, they are inclined to propose (or impose) ways to accomplish an activity (not their views or concepts like Merry) which they think are the best: "No, do it the right way". When speaking of optimality, they speak of optimality in general—"objective optimality" (they consider that they know the "correct", "generally optimal" ways of doing something). In joint activities they offer the "most effective" way of doing something. In disagreement they do not compare and verify concepts, but instead check whether the other person knows the "correct", "generally accepted", "established" concepts and terms.

In contrast to Merry, Serious are not inclined to compare and verify concepts. They assume that these can have only one unique interpretation ("correct", "accurate" one)—often they do not think about the fact that the other person may be interpreting them differently, within a different conceptual framework. They operate with concepts such as "objective reality", "unequivocal facts", and do not attempt to verify concepts: "This is called with this term". They consider that they know the "right" way of doing things, how something "really is" (they acknowledge only a certain picture of the world, one that is "objectively true"): "You say it's like this, while in reality is like that".

In description of actions or in discussion of joint activities instead of "explanatory" lexicon they give a lot of examples (all "correct" and "incorrect" modes of actions are depicted in these examples).

In this research, the hypothesis about the Quadra-related nature of entertainment has been show to be untrue. Also proven to be untrue was the widespread conviction that people of Serious types will not publicly display and behave in a "childish" manner. Probably in the majority of such cases (for example when adult people roll themselves down a snow hill), the situation serves as an intermediary and relaxes the existing interpersonal boundaries.

Other info


[1] The Institute of Biology and Psychology of Humans (2002), Reinin dichotomies, Reinin traits, Reinin Dichotomies: Research Results
[2] Victor Gulenko (2017), Consultations, What dichotomy is the most difficult to diagnose?


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