The information elements, what MBTI calls cognitive functions, is what makes up Model A and the TIM (type of information metabolism), or our type. Understanding the information elements creates a better, fuller and more dynamic view of what a type is, rather than relying on static descriptions, and is essential to understand how the romance styles works.
First, we have to look at the division between macro- and microelements. Macroelements are the functions that Jung talked about (rather than functions + attitudes), S, N, T and F. Very simplified, you could say that sensing (S) is concerned with space, intuition (N) with time, thinking (T) with objects, and feeling (F) with energy. Microelements on the other hand is the function + attitudes, what we generally see described as a “function”, such as Se or Fi.
The second important thing to know, is if the information element is extra- or introverted. Socionics describes this as object (not to be confused with thinking) and field, or essence and relation components. What this means, is that an extraverted IE (information element) is concerned with the objective, external aspects of something. What something is, how it can be used, what energy it has, and so on. The introverted IE is concerned with an internalized, comparative understanding of things. Introversion isn’t that a process is internal, but the internal “reaction” to what happens externally.
Sensing as a macroelement is, as mentioned earlier, about space. What does this mean? Everything we can observe takes up a certain space, and there’s empty space in between. But to measure space, there needs to be boundaries, which are essential to understand the sensing microelements.
For extraverted sensing, or “essence sensing”, it’s about understanding where those boundaries are. Observing the space and boundaries around us, understanding the essence of them. Of course, this involves physical space, as expected, but also psychological space. It’s concerned with the space that belongs to a person, and is therefore highly connected to the word “influence”. How to influence people, events and objects are all highly associated with it. People with this information element in their ego can often be forceful and pushy, experts in making things happen.
Introverted sensing, or “relation sensing”, it still covers the same aspect. Space and boundaries. But instead of being focused on the external, objective aspects of it, what’s important is the subjective aspect. It’s all about our impression and “reaction” to something’s impact on us, often called “comfort”, because that is essentially what it’s about. To put this in perspective with the relation aspect of sensing, it can be described as the relation between the boundary of an external object and its interaction with the boundary of our body. It is concerned with the effect that something has on our body, whether it’s about comfort, enjoyment or humid air.
As a macroelement, intuition can be said to be about time. Using time to define it is difficult though, since it’s also the way its introverted microelement, and the fourth dimension. As a macroelement, it’s about the real or potential change. At any given time, the options we have falls under intuition.
Extraverted intuition, or “essence intuition”, one of the intuitive microelements. The one word summary her is potential. The word “essence” maybe applies here the most as well, since one of the most important parts of assessing someone’s or something’s potential is to understand its essence, what it is. Because of this, it is also strongly related to insight, and the different possibilities that something has. Looks at mental, and physical, potential, the inner essence and substance.
Introverted intuition, or “relational intuition”, is how these relates to each other. Putting the (realized) potential into the span of time, how they relate to each other. In many ways, this can be even better described by the word “time” than the macroelement, because of how it uses just time to put realized potential into perspective. Strongly related to both past and future, looking at trends and patterns over the period of time.
Being about objects, this macroelement looks at what is real, either physically or theoretically.
Extraverted thinking, or “essence logic” deals with the objective characteristics of an object, and looks at what it is. Sometimes described as pragmatism, or work logic, it deals with how an object can be put into use. How objects, whether they are tangible and physical or a theoretical model, can be put into use and improved.
Introverted thinking, or “relation logic” covers the same aspect of reality as its extraverted counterpart, but rather than examining what the object is and the usefulness of it, puts them into perspective and comparison with each other. It’s about classifications, systems, structures, order and algorithms. Sometimes also called systems or structural logic.
This macroelement, often referred to as “ethics”, is about the emotional energy (not to be mistaken with physical energy).
Extraverted feeling, or “essence ethics” is the assessment of this energy. When our emotional state changes, so does our emotional energy, and that is what it is monitoring. It looks at the mood and enthusiasm, but also how to adapt to, or change the emotional atmosphere. Since it’s looks at the emotional energy and state of a person (or group), it is also strongly related to emotional expression, whether positive or negative.
Introverted feeling, or “relation ethics”, looks at those energy states in relation to each other. And maybe “relation” fits this information element the most, since it’s about the relationship between emotional states/energy, or in other words, people. It looks at how the relationship between my energy and another person’s energy looks, and what impacts this relationship. It also, since it’s highly tuned in to this relationship, looks at what’s good and kind, or evil and cruel, since any kind act will have an effect on the relationship, and a cruel act will have the opposite.