One of the most important aspects of socionics, essential to understanding the theory as a whole with specific types and the intertype relationships, is the quadras. They are based around each type sharing valued functions, as well as three different dichotomies; judicious – decisive, merry – serious, and aristocratic – democratic.
The first quadra, Alpha, consists of the types that value Si, Fe, Ne, and Ti. Sometimes, the first quadra is described as representing the age of childhood. Alphas are not necessarily childish, but they have a playful, curious, and sometimes naive attitude, which gives them the name. It’s a quadra of new beginnings, focused on an emotional atmosphere in which they can freely exchange both emotions and ideas while having fun at the same time.
The second quadra is Beta, which values Se, Fe, Ti, and Ni. Age wise, Betas are described as “older” than alpha, being in a teenage phase. They have a revolutionary attitude, implementing change in society. They are forceful and appreciate directness, and use this to achieve their goals. Betas also have a focus on hierarchy and the groups or tribes that they belong to.
Gamma quadra, the third one, values Te, Se, Fi, and Ni. This quadra is often described as the adult stage, moving from a turbulent teenage nature to a more stable adulthood. Rather than a strong group affiliation, the social aspect revolves around a network of personal and business relationships. Just like Betas, Gammas do not back down from a fight, and prefer a direct and honest approach. Gamma is also a very individualistic and serious quadra, with a realistic, long-term approach to life.
Delta is the fourth and “oldest” quadra, and consists of the types valuing Si, Te, Ne, and Fi. Often compared to old age or retirement, it moves from the cutthroat culture of gamma into a more stable way of life. Typical characteristics of this quadra include a practical, hands-on approach when it comes to helping people and an appreciation for the uniqueness of individuals.
These four quadras are, as mentioned before, made up from types that share the same valued function. But they can also be approached from a dichotomy-based angle, in a matrix using three different dichotomies.
The merry – serious divide is, as seen above, between Alpha and Beta on one side, and Gamma and Delta on the other. In terms of functions, this means that the merry quadras value Fe and Ti, whereas the serious quadras value Te and Fi.
The “merry” dichotomy of Alpha and Gamma combines Fe and Ti, which give Alphas and Gammas certain preferences, regardless of where those functions fall in a stack. The merry quadras are focused primarily on two things, based on Fe and Ti: emotional atmosphere and consistency of ideas and behaviors. As emotional atmosphere is important to them, they are more focused on the group than the serious quadras. How something is expressed is important to them, as well as consistency of information. In a group mainly consisting or merry types, you will find a cheerful atmosphere and a clear set of rules.
Gamma and Delta, consequently, are “serious” quadras, combining Te and Fi into a singular dichotomy. For them, emotional atmosphere and even consistency of ideas lack importance. Instead, focus lies in the productivity and usefulness of ideas. In communication, these quadras are often more to the point than their merry counterparts. They also naturally fall into smaller groups, and, in the case of purely Gamma “groups”, it might not even be accurate to call it that. They also have a very strong focus on personal relationships. They relate to people as individuals, which is evident in how they form groups and their comparatively individualistic attitudes.
The second dichotomy puts Alpha and Delta in one corner, with Beta and Gamma in the other. This is the judicious/decisive dichotomy, between tquadras that value Ne/Si and quadras that value Se/Ni.
The judicious quadras, Alpha and Delta, are focused on originality and the uniqueness of things. They tend to have a stronger appreciation for smaller joys in life. When judicious types end up together in a group, it shows in a distinct, shared appreciation for ideas and possibilities beyond the present, even if the ideas and possibilities in question are not practical. Complementing this high-flying appreciation of the abstract, they also show a very concrete, present side. Creating a comfortable context is important to them, and they seek out these spaces after intense experiences.
On the other hand, Beta and Gamma, the decisive quadras, live in a constant opposition to the world. They are straight forward and get to the point, not having much patience to just sit and observe. They focus strongly on what they see as meaningful and take action to make things happen. These types are likely to sacrifice everything for a future goal.
The third dichotomy, aristocratic/democratic, might seem less linear. With Alpha and Gamma on one side and Beta and Delta on the other, it divides the quadras by their blocked functions. The aristocratic quadras are made out of STs and NFs, while the democratic ones consists of NTs and SFs.
The aristocratic quadras, Beta and Delta, see people, both others and themselves, as members of different groups. Because Betas value Se, their aristocracy has a more external and objective approach, creating a potentially tribalistic mentality. Deltas, on the other hand, value Ne and therefore look at the internal characteristics of someone, similarly to how the Sorting Hat works in Harry Potter.
The democratic quadras, Alpha and Gamma, see people as individuals. This manifests differently depending on the quadra. Because Alphas value the exchange of information, their democracy focuses on freedom of communication – all people should be able to talk to whomever they like, and information should flow freely between people. For Gammas, because of their focus on Te and Se, democracy manifests as a belief that all people should be free to take whatever steps they need in order to achieve their goals.
The quadra as a way to group the types together is often counter-intuitive to people coming to socionics from MBTI or Keirsey. At first glace, the types in a given quadra usually don’t resemble each other. But, while they do not share the strength of functions at all, they do share the same functions and the same sets of dichotomies, giving them common attitudes towards many things.