It covers more
Socionics covers a lot more than what MBTI does, I doubt that’s still a secret for anyone. There are descriptions of each different group you can think of, there’s the intertype relationships, subtypes, they have expanded on what each function does in each position. It’s an eight function model (which exists in MBTI as well, through Beebe, but is far from as well known, understood and used), and there’s quadra progression. It simply covers a lot more than what MBTI does, and it does it well.
More faithful to Jung
Yes, even though there’s another theory, information metabolism, mashed into the mix, I do think it’s more faithful to what Jung wrote. The way the functions are defined for a start. In MBTI, introversion and extraversion uses several different definitions, most of them being highly problematic. But the main point here, is how it’s seen when combined with a function, most often as something internal. But based on Jung’s writing, introversion isn’t internal information, but an internal reaction to external stimulation. It’s the impression we get from something. There’s also the question of J and P. In MBTI, this is based around the first extraverted function of our psyche, which is something that was introduced by Myers and Briggs. The way Jung used the term (which he called rational and irrational), was the position of the most important function of the psyche, our dominant one. This is directly adapted into socionics, where an INFp (with lowercase p) uses Ni (an irrational, perceiving function) as their lead.
The sensing function. They are one of the big differences. As I discussed in Sensing, the descriptions of sensors in MBTI is a big problem, lacking in accurate depiction. However, this isn’t the case in socionics.
Socionics is a lot more detailed. It covers and describes almost every possible aspect, difference or singularity between types. While it gets a little too rigid, it’s very useful.
The intertype relationships, one of the most disputed, and misunderstood, aspects of socionics. While MBTI has a couple of suggestions for the “perfect match”, it’s not quite what ITR is about. It covers that as well, yes. But what it does is to describe the interaction between each function in two different persons. However, it should be noted that these descriptions are far too rigid, and biased towards duality. They are useful though, when looking at the underlying reasons.
A more unified system
While it might not look like it at first glance, it’s, for good and bad, a more unified system. Yes, it had a few “models” that adds on or sticks out from the original theory. There is Model A (which everyone uses, or it’s basically not socionics), model B (addition), model G, Reinin and Visual identification. Some are endorsed by everyone, a few rejected by most people. All with model A as the base. Looking at MBTI however, which, at first glance might look more unified, we have several theories. There are different types of four function models, the one that was originally proposed, and the one most common today. There is the dichotomy-based, official model, and the temperament-based approach, introduced by Keirsey (it should be noted though that he didn’t see it as an addition to MBTI, but a theory in itself). And then there’s the eight function model.
The subjective factor
However much I may dislike it, this factors in as well. I simply like the socionics system more.
That being said, I don’t hate MBTI. It’s where I was introduced to typology, and it is a useful method, both for understanding ourselves and others. There are definitely aspects where socionics falls, but MBTI still stands steady. Visual identification being one of those, the idea that the type can be seen through the facial structure and body type. The other big problem with socionics is the rigidness in the descriptions, something that is not quite as apparent in MBTI. So while I definitely prefer socionics at large, MBTI does have very valuable insights.