PT1: What really is Cognitive Type?

In brief, the Cognitive Type (CT) research project is an investigation into what elements of a person’s psychology can be reliably predicted by the analysis of facial expressions, body mannerisms, voice tone and gesticulation styles. The discernment of psychology through these face/body expressions is called vultology, and in our research we have found roughly 110 vultology signals (known as the vultology code) that can collectively predict different elements of psychology with relatively high levels of accuracy. And because of how different individuals display different signals largely at the exclusion of others, it allows us to group these separate people together into visual types. As we study the people who share these identical visual expressions, we also find a strong correlation in their behaviors, career choices, lifestyles and habits. This discovery presents us with a new and indispensable avenue of exploration into cognition than what we have so far had through self-reports and psychometrics. It becomes possible to predict a person’s psychological temperament from the outside-in, bypassing many of the complications which arise from a reliance on a individual’s subjective perception.

But what is causing this to happen?

The Cognitive Type model is still in its infancy, and much is yet to be uncovered about the nature and origin of the correlations being cataloged. What is creating these clusters of visual signals and psychologies? Why do they happen at all? Why is humanity divided into separate types, and for what purpose? In short, what is cognitive type at the most rudimentary level? Is it environmental conditioning? Is it a genetic reality? Is it neurological?

Vultology, Neuroscience & Genetics

Before we get started, we must keep in mind that vultology constitutes a sufficiently viable and independent domain of study without any necessary interjection from neuroscience or genetics. Each field of study makes observations and predictions in their respective domains according to what constitutes evidence, and the evidence for vultology is found in the consistent correlation between facial expressions/mannerisms and psychology –which are also predictive. A potential lack of neurological/genetic parallels to vultology would not itself erase the persistence of the visual patterns evidenced. Still, our curiosities always wish to know more, and all things are made more palpable with the convergence of multiple independent avenues of study. So what does vultology suggest to us about the origins of these visual/cognitive patterns?

The information we’ve gathered so far suggests that this visual-cognitive match isn’t an isolated phenomenon but only one byproduct of a deeper rooted reality of human diversity. It is the manifestation of a larger phenomenon that is most convenient for us to track for its capacity to give reliable signals for identification, but type does not start/end at vultology. In this article we’ll be gathering clues as to what the origin of type may be using the available evidence. The following is a hypothesis as to what cognitive type is at the biological level; representing the principal conjecture through which CT is presently framed.

Primary Hypothesis (1.0)

So far as we can tell, there is reason to believe that cognitive type is a genetic reality of an individual as unchanging as their biological sex. We see supporting evidence of this hypothesis in the twin pilot study, which demonstrated that 20 pairs of identical twins all shared the same type even when separated at birth for decades at a time. This suggests that vultological type is not environmental in nature but more intrinsic to the individual. Secondly, we suspect type may be hereditary, and there are two main points of support for this conjecture.

#1. The first is the consistency of types among family groups. It appears that the child of a couple will regularly contain the oscillation pairs shared by the parents or grandparents. To give an example of this, it appears so far that two Beta parents will most certainly have a Beta child. However, if a Beta and Delta couple have a child, the child may be any types, since the two parents have all available oscillation pairs when combined.

#2. The second observation is the uneven distribution of types in the demographics of different nations. If type is hereditary in nature, this would be consistent with the observation that certain countries have higher representations of certain types, even when accounting for differences in baseline facial anatomy. We have also been able to tease this phenomenon apart from race, as all visual types can be found in all races, although statistical leanings do exist among ethnic groups.

These observations can be tested through more dedicated studies – although only a preliminary canvass has been conducted for each one so far, with progress awaiting funding of more formal studies. Nevertheless, for the purpose of this hypothesis I’ll be operating under the assumption that these trends do remain persistent.

Functions aside, hierarchy seems unaffected by the type of the parents. Two Je-lead parents may have a child of any energetic quadrant with no pattern found so far between them. And while this does not exclude a genetic basis for hierarchy as well (indeed, the twin study still supports this), it opens up the possibility for hierarchy to be more ontogenic in nature. In any case, the variable that causes hierarchy to develop is different from the one that is responsible for the functions being present in the individual.

Genetic Bifurcation

If the above hypothesis proves to be the case, then we may explain the phenomenon of type differences through three relatively simple but compounding genetic factors which differ between individuals and which likely cause the sixteen core variations we see in our species.

  1. Orientation of the P axis
  2. Orientation of the J axis
  3. Energetics

We will ignore the third variable for now and just focus on the first two, beginning with the energetic orientation of the P axis. If we consider that all humans have the capacity for “N” and “S” then what differs between them is that some have their information gathering (Pe) beginning at S and ending in N with worldview recall (Pi). The opposite is true for another group of people who begin their information gathering at N and end/store it at S.


As evolution is a conservative enterprise and reuses existing circuits, it is highly likely that Ni/Se and Ne/Si are simply two sides of the same coin. That is to say, one is probably a modification of the other. It would be evolutionarily more taxing to imagine that one axis developed independent from the other. Instead, it is more conceivable that the difference between Ne/Si users and Ni/Se users began as a simple genetic “switch” in the orientation of the perceptive axis. One can imagine that if Ni/Se came first, then the energetic polarity of the pair was switched in a branching line of hominin. Just as our planet has flipped its axis many times in the history of the world, a genetic mutation or copying error could have been responsible for this occurrence. The same may be said of the J axis.

If we imagine then that the capacity for T/F, S/N and for Je/Ji/Pe/Pi are part of the innate structure of human consciousness, then these subtle differences in energetics may suffice to answer the question of type diversity. By the multiplication of these two axes, the four resulting forms of metabolizing information (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta) emerged; each able to account for all the basic needs of mental operation; allowing them all to persist in our genome successfully.

Mutual Exclusivity

However, it also appears that a natural exclusivity is at work which prevents the inheritance of both axes in a given domain (J/P) even if both are represented among the parents. This is supported by a near-complete exclusivity of signals belonging to the other axis in the majority of samples. We hypothesize that this near-exclusivity isn’t at 100% due to vultology relying on the secondary visual effects of this phenomenon –which inescapably introduce some noise and less fidelity than a direct reading of the genetics would. The signals offer a ready-made, yet accidental, hint that a mutual exclusivity is at work, and the margin of error we are witnessing is the result of the limitations of this secondary angle of measure. We can liken this to the ascertaining of people’s biological sex from secondary sexual characteristics. We accurately judge the sex of 99% of people at a glance and without the need for a genetic test, and any confusion we may have about a given person’s sex is not due to their lack of an underlying sex but due to the limitations of relying on outward appearance for its detection. Likewise vultology is a tool which approximates these natural dichotomies with sufficient accuracy from a visual angle, even though its accuracy is not absolute.

Due to the persistence of this exclusivity, I can only assume that the psyche has need for only one set of instructions to rule the organization of the mind. The function axes, it appears, each provide the necessary instructions to metabolize and organize thought. It is conceivable that the existence of both axes in the same psyche would cause mental aberrations due to conflicting instructions for how to metabolize information. This leads me into what the functions may be from the perspective of the brain.

The Brain as an Orchestra

In recent decades the study of the brain has advanced primarily by the evaluation of what operations a given brain area performs. But new meta-studies are introducing the possibility that this compartmentalized approach to the brain may have been misguided. The individual brain areas and their locations may not matter as much as how areas are coordinated and synchronized into what’s known as “large-scale brain networks” or “neural cliques.”

An understanding of how the human brain produces cognition ultimately depends on knowledge of large-scale brain organization. Although it has long been assumed that cognitive functions are attributable to the isolated operations of single brain areas, we demonstrate that the weight of evidence has now shifted in support of the view that cognition results from the dynamic interactions of distributed brain areas operating in large-scale networks.– link


No single brain area can produce the type of complex tasks that define our daily behaviors and operations. Instead, the brain is better viewed like an orchestra where different players play different parts of a symphony. Complex operations are strung together, like a song, through a series of collaborating areas which are organized together by a composer. Contrary to previous hypotheses, there appears to be an order and organization to the brain. The brain is not an unruly assortment of separate areas each contributing to a small percentage of the music without any lead harmonizer. Indeed, it would be impossible for consciousness to arise from the brain with any sense of coherence if all of our brain regions were not being coordinated in some fashion by an over-arching process. Just as an orchestra cannot be coherent without the composer, the brain cannot create consciousness without these large-scale brain networks. It is my hypothesis that what we have hitherto called the Ni/Se, Ne/Si, Ti/Fe and Te/Fi oscillations are four such over-arching processes which create large-scale complex behavioral outcomes. They are, however, not the only cognitive functions of the brain but perhaps the only ones which have bifurcated into two iterations each.

Baseline Human Similarities & Differences

There is a large assortment of brain activities which are common to all humans such as the capacity to formulate speech, to discern shapes/colors, to interpret words, to recognize faces and register the emotional context of situations. The mutual exclusivity of Ne/Si and Ni/Se, or of Ti/Fe and Te/Fi speaks only to an aspect of the whole activity of the brain. As such, even opposite types such as the FiNe and SeTi share many baseline cognitive similarities. Not all differences among humans can be attributed to a difference in oscillation pairs, and it is important not to over-extend the scope of type, or to try to segregate every behavior or manifestation as belonging to one pair or the other. Just as biological sex adds a degree of psychological variability between humans while keeping the majority of our nature the same between both parties, the same is true of type.

Having said that, these core variations in information metabolism are significant enough to generate profound differences in the phenomenology of individuals which impacts one’s outlooks on life, attitudes of consciousness and overall behaviors. But this is a one-way relationship, as no outlooks/attitudes/behaviors can be used exclusively to infer what function axes the individual possesses. We instead end up with a large body of statistically significant (but never at 100%) behaviors and attitudes that are more affiliated to one function axes than to another.

In Summary

Cognitive Type is believed to be an intrinsic and genetic variation in humans that causes certain large-scale brain networks to harmonize (and metabolize information) in different ways. Among the many neural cliques that comprise mental operation, there are two separate ways of metabolizing data and two separate ways of processing decisions that are influenced by this genetic factor — with the majority of all other brain functions being identical among people. These differences in information metabolism produce differences in vultology as secondary effects of this genetic variability. Facial muscles contract in different ways automatically as a byproduct of these neural activities, which can be traced to infer which two processes a person possesses. Additionally, these metabolic differences alter the person’s root perception of life and the narrative/storyline through which reality is interpreted and lived.

We will discuss the origin and nature of the energetic quadrants in a future article.