Forms of Cognition

by Victor Gulenko

Forms of Cognition

English translation from original publication in Journal “Socionics, Mentology and Personality Psychology”, N 4, 2002

The manifestations of three dichotomies: Static–Dynamic, Positivism–Negativism, and Evolution–Involution; examined on four levels: intellectual, social, psychological, and physical. From these dichotomies are identified the cognitive styles corresponding to Sociotypes. The features of Causal-Determinist, Dialectical-Algorithmic, Holographical-Panoramic, and Vortical-Synergetic forms of cognition are described. Also explored is their formative influence on modern philosophical paradigms and the special role of Supervision rings in societal transmission of information.

Keywords: Socionics, psychology, cognition, static, dynamic, positivism, negativism, evolution, involution, information metabolism, synergetics, Supervision relations

From the standpoint of their structure, cognition in my opinion is most successfully modeled by combinations of these three dichotomies: Static–Dynamic, Positivism–Negativism, and Evolution–Involution. Why these? I came to understand this relationship in two ways. First, I noted that the most rapid and complete exchange of information occurs through Supervision rings, which are formed by these dichotomies. Second, finding Socionics analogies to other models of comprehending reality (worldviews) I found that information exchange in each of the four Supervision rings embodied fundamental forms of intellectual activity found across the history of established thought.

If my conclusions are valid, then the mental activity of Supervision rings constitutes that which cognitive psychology typically refers to as styles (or forms) of cognition. A strict deductive proof of this theory is not my aim. Instead I will simply present the results obtained. Coming from the practice of consultation, teaching, and training work, inductive generalizations have more weight for me than the mathematical calculations so dear to the hearts of some Socionists.

How do you determine that a person is actively thinking? Let us examine from the side. He first loses internal composure, then recovers it (he is using Static–Dynamic). First doubts, then confidently asserts something (he using Negativism–Positivism). First specifies concretely, then generalizes, moving from one logical level to another (a process controlled by the Involution–Evolution dichotomy as I will show below). Emotional coloring, judgment speed, following the present pattern (i.e. Logic/Ethics, Extro/Introversion, Rational/Irrational) all play their specific role here, of course. But the three dichotomies which unite Sociotypes into Supervision rings, exert a more noticeable impact on aggregate social intelligence in the form it has historically developed.

Statics depend more on space, Dynamics more on time. Filling space with objects characterizes Static behavior, whereas Dynamics saturate time with events. Statics cannot stand empty space—they immediately fill it with available items on hand. Dynamics cannot stand empty time—boredom, stagnation, prolonged states of the same condition. In a certain sense, Statics can be called people of place, Dynamics people of time.

I emphasize that in this article I will investigate the structural forms of cognition, not their content. My attention will not be directed on what a person thinks, but how they think. In other words, the subject of my discussion will be on the instrumental and technical aspects of thinking.

Static–Dynamic Dichotomy

In general terms, this dichotomy refers to orientation towards either space (Static) or time (Dynamic). The categories of space and time are vital a priori concepts studied in detail by Immanuel Kant in “Critique of Pure Reason”, contrasting them as extent and duration.

Now consider this dichotomy on the individual levels of communication.

Intellectual Level

Statics tend towards fragmentary-analytic thinking; Dynamics tend towards associative-synthetic thinking.

Analysis, as defined by most sources, is the division of a whole into clearly delimited parts. Analytical work is meant to delineate boundaries. Whereas synthesis is akin to associativity, i.e. the association of two or more concepts by fuzzy, rapid connections whereby one occurrence immediately evokes others to mind. Resulting in a coherent synthetic image with blurred internal boundaries.

The epitomization of Dynamic cognition formed the explanatory basis for the nature of mental processes in the theory of associationism. Aristotle first advanced the idea that spontaneous mental images can converge so closely together that the similarity or contrast of multiple associations emerges on the basis of contiguity. Later John Locke argued that ideas of any degree of complexity emerge from the process of associating simple sensations. In this case he contrasted the association of ideas against purely semantic connections, which in his opinion were secondary.

Indeed, eidetic mnemonic techniques showed that with aid of visual association, it is possible to connect anything in the mind. Here are some of the eidetic memory techniques originating in antiquity.

Roman orator Cicero used the ‘method of loci’ to memorize his speeches by heart. He mentally laid out information in the corners of a room, mentally returning to one corner or another to extract as required. Medieval Dominican monks studying rhetoric used the same method. They took a road familiar to them to the last detail and mentally walked down it, successively laying out along the road statements which would be presented before the audience. While speaking, they would mentally walk the route, ‘raising’ key concepts they had previously laid there.

Contemporary advertising cleverly exploits the Dynamic side of human cognition. It is mainly based on the mechanism of association by context (manly cowboy next to a pack of cigarettes) or contrast (ordinary laundry detergent vs. advertised laundry detergent). Judging by this means of consumer inducement, advertising presumably influences Statics much less than Dynamics. Statics memorize more effectively when material is structured in rigid semantic relationships, where each concept is fixed in memory cells like a computer.

Thus, Dynamics are stronger in synthesis operations (not mere simple connections, but confluence of associations), while Statics are stronger in analysis (not just any separation, but clear and precise delineations). Thus, the discrete/continuous pairing has more to do with the Static–Dynamic dichotomy, than with otherwise customary Rationality/Irrationality. But then, what exactly is the latter? Irrationality indicates situationality (predominance of context over aim), while Rationality indicates regularity (predominance of aim over context).

Social Level

Differences between Dynamic and Static types at this level corresponds to the contrast between initiators and finalizers.

Dynamics are stronger at the beginning of any activity: they easily move and quickly enter the realm of nominal activity. Rapid transitions from a previous state into a new process of change itself—this is their customary life. Statics better sustain and continue what has already begun—that which is already in motion. They must be preliminarily excited.

However, in the Dynamic is a process of continuous readjustment of focus and ‘drift’ of purposes. Because of this, the priorities of Dynamics are volatile and poor in hierarchical coordination. One wish may be quickly replaced by another and it is difficult for them to concentrate on any one specific long-term goal without external support. The strength of Dynamics is not in retaining goals, but in achieving them; they are better tacticians than strategists.

The objectives of Statics are more stable and reliable. They know what they want and are able to maintain long-term focus upon it. They arrange priorities in their life and work, with well-differentiated primary and secondary objectives that are rarely reversed. Statics are more successful strategists than tacticians; they know what to do much better than how to do it.

A predominance of Dynamics in any social group renders it unstable, prone to endless change, and sensitive to external interference. Conversely, if predominated by Statics, then rapid transformations prove to be impossible due to excess psychological inertia, rendering the group stabler but more conservative.

Psychological Level

The Static–Dynamic dichotomy controls the degree of equilibrium in the nervous system. Generally, the nervous system of Statics can be regarded as balanced and Dynamics as unbalanced.

This is tied to variability in the internal state commonly referred to as ‘mood’. The mood of Dynamics, even if Rational, can substantially change or fluctuate for seemingly insignificant reasons (from an outside observer POV). The Dynamic wants total freedom but is more dependent on ambient environmental conditions and needs a solid foundation.

Statics possess a relatively autonomous psycho-emotional state; their mood is difficult to spoil, and equally difficult to raise. For Statics, providing reliable support to those psychologically depending on them is a routine situation.

Dynamics often develop a psycho-physiological phenomenon known as ‘synaesthesia’—a complex relationship between the sensory modalities that results in confluence between them. Synchronized perception of color, sound, smell, and taste as a single complex gives Dynamics a special vividness in their perception of reality. Sometimes fusion of sensation is developed to such an extent that internal images appear indistinguishable from reality. For Statics, given the discreteness of their mental apparatus, regular synesthesia is usually a rare exception or the result of special training.

Physical Level

At this level, Static–Dynamic manifests as contrasting impulses to biological homeostasis/heterostasis. Homeostasis I understand as constancy and heterostasis as variability of the organism and its surrounding environment.

Dynamics are heterostatically inclined to change their material conditions of life such as wardrobe, home interior, or furniture arrangement, for sake of variety or out of boredom. For Statics this tendency is uncharacteristic. Only with difficulty do they proceed with changes to their home environment to which they have become accustomed. They will do so only when it’s easier to yield to circumstantial pressures, than to resist.

As types with variable metabolism, Dynamics can rapidly grow stout, though just as quickly lose weight if they fall into a state of emotional distress. Statics have the opposite problem, of a stabler weight and build: if already seriously fat (or thin), they remain so for longer times. Their bodily metabolism is more invariant.

The same laws apply in relation to other physiological parameters such as temperature, blood pressure, perspiration, etc. For example, the body temperature of Dynamics may fluctuate during the day even with no overt symptoms of illness. With sufficient training, Dynamic types can consciously change these parameters in the desired direction.

Positivist–Negativist Dichotomy

Positivism I understand as the tendency to maximize the positive, Negativism as the tendency to minimize the negative. Positivists primarily perceive the positive side of any phenomenon, and often turn a blind eye to the negative. Negativists won’t overlook problems, and simultaneously mitigate any positive aspects to their situation of interest.

Intellectual Level

At this level, the Positivism–Negativism dichotomy manifests as identification of similarities or differences in object comparison. In Negativists thought processes prevails contrast, in Positivists leads comparison. Meaning that Positivists more easily hold overall views of an object, without considering its internal divisions. Conversely, Negativists more easily distinguish its extreme points of separation and opposing contrasts.

Directly relevant to this is a dichotomy known in cognitive psychology as convergent/divergent thinking [5], discovered by J. P. Guilford. In his opinion, divergent thinking, from simple initial data, yields several different solutions to the same problem; a trait characteristic to the alternative-thinking of Negativists.

Opposite this, convergent thinking searches for a single valid encompassing solution; a trait more characteristic to Positivist thinking. For them, a problem is unsolved until the validity of one solution is proven against other alternatives.

Social Level

Positivism–Negativism affects the degree of internal group coherence and regulates attraction/repulsion between its members.

An individual’s ability to assimilate into a group is typologically predictable. Negativists are remote types. They need constant assurance, even in a group they consider their own. Therefore it is more difficult to fully integrate Negativists into a group. Positivists on the other hand, are inclined to close range communication. They do not polarize contrasts, but smooth them over in one way or another. Thus Positivists facilitate monocentric group structure and unity of purpose. Whereas Negativists amplify polarizing forces conducive to polycentric group structure.

Consider the example of SEI, a fairly good-natured type, although Negativist. Is there a behavioral tendency towards remoteness? Yes, it contrasts its subgroup with other subgroups. Thereby disrupting, unintentionally or not, unity of purpose in the whole group overall.

What process balances internal group cohesion? It is observed that Positivists are drawn towards their opposite, which contributes to overall group solidarity, particularly through the ease of intragroup role distribution. Negativists on the other hand, have an inherent paradoxical attraction to those similar to themselves. The nearer such parallel charged elements converge, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to implement mutual action. Repulsive forces rapidly emerge and fracture group integration.

The overall incidence of monolithic or polarized group behavior is a reliable index for gauging Positivist–Negativist tendencies. Negativism generates tension in intragroup relations, leading on one hand to an increase in psychological distance between members, but on the other hand activating its internal momentum to say “Move!”. Positivism by contrast contracts psychological distance and encourages internal group cohesion, but can also bring complacency, carelessness, and ‘vapidity’ of existence.

Psychological Level

In a psychological sense, this dichotomy can be approximately interpreted as trust/distrust.

Each type of person behaves in life according to how they answer the following existential question: is human nature inherently good or evil? For Positivists, human nature is inherently good, so they are more likely to be trusting. This does not mean that they consciously consider themselves to be good, just that they conduct themselves as if others were. Negativists even under favorable conditions are inclined to expect the worst. Their degree of trust in others is therefore is much lower.

The relation between Positivists and Negativists is illustrated well by the analogy of electric conductors. Electric-people (Negativists who have accumulated a negative psychological charge) discharge into conductor-people (Positivists), who tend to provoke them in just the right way to do so. All of which happens mostly automatically and unconsciously. The resulting emotional flash establishing temporary balance of psychological (electro-)potentials. This beneficial surge of emotional release, Aristotle in his “Poetics” called ‘catharsis’—psychological purging via intense experience.

Physical Level

The spatial arrangement of conversation parties in front or near is a key factor in communication, its importance first stressed by Harry S. Sullivan. Negativists gain leverage in communication from positions opposite the partner, Positivists from positions alongside or at an angle deflecting a straight-on gaze.
Automatic reductions in confrontation due to being seated side by side, are a common method used by marital psychologists working with couples. Sitting side by side and addressing an imaginary third party, enables couples to gradually decrease the severity of sore conflict.

Clinical psychologists studying nonverbal cues classify gestures indicative of critical attitudes. Such gestures are typically ‘closed’—for instance, a hand at the mouth. From a Socionics standpoint then, closed demeanor is better explained by Negativism, not Introversion.

Negativism induces tangible bodily tension. Negativists are inclined to accumulate ‘charge’, making highly-charged Negativists easily overexcitable (especially if also Dynamic). In order to compensate against this, Negativists are recommended to engage in physical exercise that relaxes and smooths internal tension. While Positivists are recommended to perform physical exercise that excites and intensifies their physiological processes.

Evolution–Involution Dichotomy

In its most general form, I understand this dichotomy as Process–Result; or by its other informal name, Right–Left. More precisely, I refer to the designated Latin words ‘evolutio’: “developing outward” and ‘involutio’: “coalescing inward.”

Intellectual Level

Describing Evolution–Involution at this level will initially contrast deductive vs. inductive thinking.

Unfortunately, the bulk of literature on this cognitive dichotomy treats it in at least two different senses. In the first sense, deduction is understood simply as a strict formal sequence or expository progression of thought (aka Socionics rationality), while induction is understood as conclusions stemming from practical experience (aka Socionics irrationality).

I will frame this dichotomy in the second sense, namely as simplification vs. complication of thought structure. Meaning that in deductive thinking, given a set of simple and obvious statements (axioms, postulates), the resultant consequences can be necessarily derived (theorem). Reasoning flows in the direction of simple to complex. Evolutionary types therefore mentally complicate the situation.

The Evolution–Involution dichotomy confers different scales of examination in a problem. Evolutionary types see small to large. Details are distinct. Scale is specific and precise like geographical map. Involutionary types on the other hand, see large to small. Details are vague. Scale is general and broad. The scale will alternate in Negativists, since they think more alternatively, but the same priority will remain.

It is worth noting that deductive thinking has always had priority in society over inductive thinking. Constructing a deductively consistent theory to explain a phenomenon, has always been seen as a researcher’s coup de grace.

Social Level

On the social level, differences between these approaches can be contrasted as naturality/artificiality. By ‘naturality’ I refer to primal behavior inherent to nature, and by ‘artificiality’ I refer to behavior accepted by society. For example, in nature, survival of the fittest is law, whereas in society, protection and care of the weak is cultivated.

From this stems distinctions in one’s attitudes towards people in close or distant circles. In the life of Evolutionary types, reputation plays a much greater role. Opinions of others in external society tend to be more important to them than opinions of friends or relatives. Involutionary types depend less on social appraisal. They are more accommodating towards people of their inner circle, whose opinions they hold in higher esteem than those of public approval or disapproval.

There is a habit in Involutionary types to abruptly curtail conversations. They do not simply cut off communication, but specifically wind it up, quickly finish, or summarize what has been said. They may also suddenly deflect onto tangents, then flip back to the topic at hand. Evolutionary types may interpret this mannerism as a sign of tactlessness, disinterest, or resentment.

Psychological Level

Evolution–Involution, along with other dichotomies, influences a key parameter of stress in the psyche: Control of asymmetry in the excitatory/inhibitory processes of the nervous system.

Evolutionary types recover more slowly from stress than Involutionary types. Their inhibitory processes are less amenable to conscious control than their excitatory processes, hence their tendency to dwell on personal issues. After being pulled in by any process, they are often unable to get out of it. Which can lead to gambling, drug use, alcoholism, or other vices, even Internet-addiction.

Consequently, susceptibility to conditioning is higher in Evolutionary types than in Involutionary types. Conditioned responses require movement along a single path, without possibility of turning around or deviating from the imposed route. One of the inhibitory mechanisms of conditioning is phobia (obsessive fear). Imagine not being able to rid yourself of thinking you will definitely fall on a slippery road. This is an example of a phobia. And then you actually do end up falling, even if wearing mountain-climbing boots. According to my observations, Involutionary types do not seriously suffer such phobias.

Thus, Involutionary types more rapidly and less painfully get rid of illusions, imposed opinions, suggested thoughts, fanatic states, etc. It is because of Evolution–Involution differences that quadras are split rings of social progress are formed.

Physical Level

The Evolution–Involution dichotomy manifests on the lower level of communication through an orientation towards either process or result.

Evolutionary types are more inclined to procedure, which involves careful study of details. They are subject to the logic of the development process, which assumes motion from beginning to end and top to bottom.

Involutionary types rush to obtain a result, frequently neglecting details of the process, which reduces overall quality. Such behavioral patterns lead to a tolerant attitude towards returns and corrections. They don’t mind accepting suboptimal, but convenient solutions. They are characterized by backward motion, from end to beginning and from bottom to top.

Let me illustrate this by an example of reading books. Glancing immediately at the end or bottom part of the page is characteristic for Involutionary types. Reading in reverse order does not deprive them pleasure of novelty, on the contrary, it stimulates their activity in assimilating information. Involution shouldn’t be confused merely with impatient skimming ahead, after which one continues smooth reading.

Sharpness of movement is observed in Involutionary types, along with sporadic shifting from one activity to another. These sudden shifts overtly contrast to the smoothness of Evolutionary types. In traditional Socionics, sharp movements are attributed to Rationality. In my opinion, however, this quality is more determined by Involution. For counterexample, consider the Evolutionary Rational types LSI and EII, whose motions are characteristically soft and smooth. Yet the nature of movement in Involutionary Irrationals SLE and IEE is so sharp that training them smooth movement is practically impossible.

To clarify the fundamental distinction between Involution and Evolution, the following analogy will help. In biology, catabolism and anabolism are the two sides of organic metabolism. Catabolism—the breakdown of complex compounds to release energy and the elimination of decay products from the organism—corresponds to the role of Involutionary types in group dynamics. Anabolism—the assimilation from the external environment of substances necessary for life and their transformation into more complex compounds—corresponds to the communicative role played by Evolutionary behavior.

Causal-Determinist Cognition

Let us now examine the first cognitive form: It is analytic, positive, and deductive. We will call this style Causal-Determinist. Its carriers are Sociotypes ILE, LSI, SEE, EII (ENTp, ISTj, ESFp, INFj, respectively)

As Statics, their cognitive activity is stable and clear. As Evolutionary types, they think procedurally without overlooking parts and intermediate details. As Positivists, they aim towards singularly valid solutions.

Intellectual Sphere

Causal-Determinist cognition is known under synonymous names as formal logic or deterministic thinking, both of which emphasize its rigid nature. Speech in this cognitive style takes shape with aid of the connectives “because”, “therefore”, “consequently” (causal conjunctions). The mental process consists in constructing chains of cause and effect, reducing explanations to deterministic mechanisms. Using the example of Aristotle, who first pointed out four ways to explain phenomena, the reason for the existence of a sculpture is the sculptor who fashioned it directly.

In the scientific sphere so thinks ILE, in the managerial-administrative sphere is methodical LSI, in the social sphere SEE calculates chains of material interests, in the humanitarian sphere subject to the same categorical imperative is EII.

Social Sphere

Aristotle is considered the discoverer of this approach. The basic laws of formal thinking are outlined in his theory of syllogism. However, the first to consistently put them into practice was Euclid, founder of geometry. More recently, its principles grounded rationalist Rene Descartes in his 1637 treatise “Discourse on the Method”. Then it finally took shape in mathematical logic. The Causal-Determinist paradigm reached its apogee in Logical Positivism, then increasingly began to decline in value towards the end of the 20th century. However, as the common stereotype of proof, it still dominates to this day.

I will touch its advantages. First, it is perceived by society as the most authoritative, most convincing, and singularly correct. In mathematics, it is formalized as the deductive-axiomatic method. Use of it requires great intellectual stamina. Second, attributes of greater clarity and concentration are inherent to this style. The type most characterized by singular concentration is LSI. However, the irrational SEE argues quite soundly, deriving one consequence from another, implying focus on the chain of events. If even one link fails for any reason, then Determinists lose their sense of rationale and find it difficult to act because they see no reason to.

At the same time, Causal-Determinism has its drawbacks. It is primarily the most artificial and removed from the laws of functioning life. Its efficacy extends to the ‘logical’ formulation of already existing results, the construction of operating mechanisms, but not fundamentally new discoveries. The first dead end which formalization risks is scholasticism, i.e. pointless albeit logically impeccable reasoning. The second intellectual dead end faced by sequential Determinists is the trap of reductionism, which they fall into on account of fragmenting wholes into their component parts. This deficiency was noted even by the ancient skeptics, as well as in modern times by Hume, who doubted that any event could be dictated by strict reason.

Indeed, in building a long chain of cause and effect, it is difficult to avoid the danger of circularity, the risk of falling into circulus vitiosus—a vicious circle in the proof. Kurt Gödel’s theorem on the incompleteness of formal systems, asserts that any sufficiently complex system of rules is either inconsistent, or contains conclusions that can be neither proven nor refuted by the rules of that system. This established limits in the applicability of formal logic. Using the deductive-axiomatic method, the medieval Scholastics in particular, attempted to rigorously prove the existence of God. Resulting from closure of causes in terms of effects, they circularly arrived at a definition of God as the thought which thinks of itself.

Psychological Sphere

Causal-Determinist cognition forges a mentality poorly protected from indoctrination, or in extreme cases, even brainwashing. By skillfully combining memorable words and actions, it is possible to gain control over the behavior of specific individuals. Intelligent Determinists in particular, are characterized by a strong dependence on the events of childhood, which Sigmund Freud discovered in his time, though poorly understood in full. Habits in pronounced Determinists are comparable in their rigidity to conditioned reflexes.

Standard military interrogation procedures are designed to ensure guaranteed cause-effect impacts upon the psyche. It includes measures of exposure such as sleep deprivation, changes in room temperature and/or humidity, denial of food subsequently followed by its delivery as a reward, etc. Isolation of the detainee and the gradual imposition of regulations, bears fruit sooner or later. In time, the vulnerability of psychological destabilization is manufactured into dependence upon the interrogator.

It is noteworthy that extreme critical situations, trigger a ‘slow-motion film’ state of mind in Determinists. Thinking becomes particularly clear, but stretched out over time, such that seconds can subjectively feel like minutes. Along these same lines, due to an abrupt shakeup of their psyche, the stress of surprise severely impedes their cerebral activity until they can recover in deep sleep.

The psychological school of Behaviorism represents this model of the psyche. Its supporters believe that behavioral learning is achieved through reinforcement—rewarding adherence to rules and punishing their violation. B. F. Skinner formulated the principle of operant conditioning, according to which the behavior of living organisms is completely determined by the cause-effect of this conditioning. He proposed the method of ‘successive approximations’, in which students receive positive reinforcement in instances where their behavior conforms to that desired.

Behaviorists developed the concept of conditioned learning and established a rigid procedural method of action towards the goal as the basis for its operation.

Scientific Sphere

Formal logical thinking in its time gave birth to the deterministic cause-effect worldview. This is the worldview of classical physics whose cornerstone is Newtonian Mechanics, and was the dominant paradigm until the early 20th century. Rigid systems operate according to these rules—organisms and mechanisms. When faced with multi-factor processes (such as psychology or society), however, reductionism loses its explanatory power to portray complex phenomena in terms of their basic components. Additionally, this classic paradigm has been too influenced by the ideal of ‘progress’, in spite of numerous historical examples of regressive tendencies, setbacks, repetitions, etc.

A real-life model of Causal-Determinist cognition is given by information represented in the form of a chart or realistic illustration made using a direct perspective. In this technique, objects are depicted larger or smaller in proportion to their distance from the observer. By drawing in this way, following strict instructions, any object can be easily depicted.

Dialectical-Algorithmic Cognition

The second cognitive form is of particular interest: it is synthetic, negative, and deductive. The working name of this style is Dialectical-Algorithmic. Representatives of this style are Sociotypes EIE, ILI, LSE, SEI (ENFj, INTp, ESTj, ISFp, respectively)

As Dynamics, these types synthesize associational images. As Evolutionary types, they increase deductive complexity of them. As Negativists, they work well with contradictions and paradoxes.

Intellectual Sphere

The essential distinguishing feature of the Dialectical style, is a view of the universe as a unified struggle of opposites. In speech it often uses syntactic constructions “if-then-else”, the predictive branches of a developing process. Within limits, the Dialectic strives to find an intermediate point of dynamic equilibrium between contrasting extremes. Dialectical cognition is born from the colliding flow and counterflow of thought, the consciousness and unconsciousness. Thinkers of this style are characterized by an express inclination towards the synthesis of opposites, the removal of contradictions, which they so keenly perceive.

Its advantages are obvious: it is the most subtle and flexible style. It can easily switch to an opposite direction, and possesses predictive ability, accompanied by an effective type of associative memory. Algorithmic thinking is also good at solving problems of classification, given their gift for recognizing complex patterns. Beyond the circumstantial conditions of a problem, it perceives a fundamental algorithm for its solution.

According to Aristotle, Dialecticals prognostic thinking explains reality on the basis of purposive causes. For example, the cause of a sculpture is an idea of it in the head of the sculptor. The main role is played by a program, the intention of the creator. Thus, it can be considered teleological, and hence the most ‘religious’ in its essential thinking. Many scholars of this type sooner or later come to faith (not necessarily a church confessional).

Social Sphere

Historically, the first representative of a Dialectical worldview would be Heraclitus. Epitomizing the Dynamic dichotomy, he was of the opinion that “you cannot enter the same river twice” because whenever you enter again, the flow is already of different water. In more recent times it developed into Hegel’s comprehensive theory of a rational system. Since Dialectical cognition, compared to other styles, is the most oriented towards creative intention, it invariably leads to ideas of a creator, an absolute, a cosmic intelligence, etc.

Two of its representatives—EIE and ILI—are usually recognized in society as the most intellectual types. They form the backbone of intellectual elites, expert clubs, esoteric groups, etc. They are the best computer programmers, knowing better than other types how to work with moving structures—algorithms. Algorithmic diagrams consist of blocks and arrows showing the order of transitions, branches, and loop cycles. The crux of a program is its dynamic structure—pointers, rather than blocks. The formula “if-then-else” is, in essence, the core of any algorithm.

The disadvantages in Dialectical-Algorithmic cognition include instability and uncertainty. Algorithmics suffer from difficulty in making choices and embracing unambiguous decisions. This thinking is more comparable to a symphony of flowing interwoven imagery, rather than a mechanism of clearly established instruction sets. Another problem is increased criticality, which can be so high that it incurs self-destruction, plunging them into danger of total detachment from reality, and leading to mental disorders, especially in cases of hereditary predisposition.

Psychological Sphere

The psyche of Dialectical types is most prone to transformations. From a psychological point of view, an unstable oscillating psyche is fertile ground for suggestibility. Occasionally Dialectics lose control over the parallel streams of thought fluctuating in their heads. They need only tune out their internal oscillation between freedom of choice and fatalism, and reinforce the latter. Doctors know that a small but accurately timed shock can throw the heart into a state of fibrillation. Likewise, a successfully directed signal at the right time can throw the Dialectical psyche into a chaotic state.

The EIE Sociotype has a very suitable psyche for suggestive influence. It is characterized by so-called moments of imprint vulnerability. In these moments an intense suggestion is triggered—an imprint—the prerequisites of which are a state of extreme fear, confusion, or surprise. A ‘No Exit’ sign suddenly seen by a person of Algorithmic psyche at a time of severe emotional turmoil, may catalyze a decision about suicide. Exploiting this paradoxical nature of Dialectical types, shock therapy is capable of completely reprogramming their conception of reality, including core value judgments.

A certain, although rare sign of Dialectical cognition—accidents that lead to states similar to a deep trance or coma, followed by sudden enlightenment or the appearance of esoteric abilities.

The other version is slow suggestion, primarily based on entrainment through rhythmic vocalization and/or sound, multiple repetitions of the same phrase with variation. Variations in this case are particularly significant, working akin to the chorus in a song. Gradually a trance state is reached—external relaxation with internal concentration. The greater the monotony, the sooner a deep trance is reached. Hence why some people rapidly settle down and fall asleep under a monotone ‘bubnezh‘ TV.

Scientific Sphere

Dialectical thinking best corresponds to the quantum-probabilistic worldview of modern physics. According to this paradigm, there are no immutable laws, only tendencies and probabilities. Quantum Mechanics is built on the counterintuitive principle of particle-wave duality, according to which microcosmic objects behave as particles and as waves. Two of the 20th century’s greatest physicists disputed over this view—Albert Einstein and Neils Bohr. The former defended causal-determinism as the nature of the universe, the latter advocated a probabilistic ontology. In the aftermath, Bohr won. Though apart from its historical context, the dispute makes little sense, given that these cognitive forms are dual to one other. Jung’s principle of ‘synchronicity‘ also lies within the Dialectical paradigm.

Contemporary British mathematician Roger Penrose has suggested that the human brain uses quantum gravity as a means for intuitive insight. He’s written several books (“The Emperor’s New Mind” and “Shadows of the Mind”) stipulating that the brain is a quantum computer, and that Aristotelian logical thinking is actually alien to human beings. If he is right, it follows that the integral type of humanity is Dialectical-Algorithmic.

A real-life model of this thinking—double-images periodically passing into each other. Simple example: a projection onto the plane of a truncated pyramid. After examining it awhile it alternately seems convex, with the top facing to the observer, then concave, with the rear wall receding into the distance.

One more graphical illustration of Dialectical perception. What do you see in the picture: a vase against a black background, or two facial profiles on a white background? It depends on which one for you is the background, and which is the figure. Some see a vase and the profiles turn into a dark background, others see two black profiles and the white vase goes into the background. But once a person sees both images, fluctuations of attention begin. The picture seems to pulsate: you see a vase, then the profiles. There is a dialectical exchange of background/foreground. Triggering negative reverse perspective, where distant or darkened objects are perceived more significantly than those located closer to the observer.

Holographical-Panoramic Cognition

In cognitive theory, the third cognitive form is the least studied: it is analytic, negative, and inductive. The provisional name of this style is Holographical-Panoramic. ‘Holograph’ originates from the Ancient Greek words holos “entire, whole” and grapho “write”. This name is derived from the Holographist’s ability to densely pack information via method of ‘like to, similar’ analogy. Sociotypes possessing this form are SLE, LII, IEE, ESI (ESTp, INTj, ENFp, ISFj, respectively)

As Statics, Holographers attain reliable precision of thought. As Negativists they periodically turn the object of thought to its opposite side. As Involutionary types, they sporadically change the angle of examination or criterion of judgment.

Intellectual Sphere

This cognitive style has much in common with the holographic principle in physics. A hologram (optical) is a statistically recorded interference pattern made by two beams of light which are transmitted and reflected from a single source. Holographic technology allows us to obtain a three-dimensional image of an object. The hologram itself is an aggregation of stripes and spots exactly resembling the embedded object. The two beams of light are superimposed in such a way that every part of the hologram carries information about the whole.

In this way, by mentally superimposing multiple projections of the same object, Holographists reach a holistic view. To do this, they look at the image and select a desired angle of examination. Holographic cognition often utilizes the grammatical conjunctives: “or-or”, “either-or”, “on the one hand, on the other hand”. It actively uses the principle of perspective; unrestricted choice in point of view. The holographic approach is a progressive approximation towards the purpose, or away from it, accompanied by changes of perspective. The holographic process is carried out as if calibrating focus.

Holographic cognition has a characteristic penetrating, skeletal-revealing, ‘x-ray’ nature. It unhesitatingly cuts away details and nuances, giving a coarsely generalized representation of the subject. Take for example the two orthogonal cross-sections of a cylinder: the horizontal section looks like a circle, and the vertical section looks like a rectangle. Two different perspectives of an indivisible whole which, when superimposed in the mind, produces transition to a higher level of understanding about the object.

SLE thinks this way in battle. Analyzing the situation, they simplify it to two or three facets (frontal, flank, and/or rear), but then quickly go to a higher tier of understanding. LII grasps the problem from opposite sides, mentally rotating the situation in three dimensions around its semantic axes. ESI first draws near to a person, then moves away, seeming to probe the individual from all sides, cutting off those who could let them down. IEE detects the possible hidden motivations of a person, as if building their psychological ‘hologram’.

The main advantages of Holographic cognition are as follows. First, it is multi-perspective. As already stated, because of this it attains a dimensionally holistic and complete depiction. Second, it values simplicity and clarity, avoids pretentiousness, and forgoes ‘bells and whistles’. Holographists are particularly effective in crisis situations, when it is necessary to make decisions quickly, and there is no time to weigh all the details.

The obvious disadvantage of this cognitive style is that it appears too rough, lacking adequate consideration to details which become important when a process flows smoothly. Its information-dense constructs are often difficult to decompress and unpack; to outsiders, they may seem void of intermediate links for establishing coherency in their connections.

According to Aristotle, Holographic cognition corresponds to explanation by structural or formative causes. Aristotle called it the structure of form. Returning to the sculptor example, the cause of the sculpture is its latent form, which the sculptor merely sets free by cutting away excess marble.

Social Sphere

A vague idea of the holographic concept was expressed by Gottfried Leibniz’s “Monadology”. His monad, a microcosmic reflection of the whole world order, is analogous to a hologram. Ecologists regularly turned to it in attempting to understand why there is stability in nature. Relationships between living and non-living nature arising in a given territory causes biogeocenosis, or ecosystem formation. Ecosystems are primarily characterized by equilibrium of self-similarity over time, where long-term coexistence of opposites without merging (synthesis) is observed. Therefore, Static prevails over Dynamic in such communities. Therein lies the fundamental law of homeostasis in the ecosystem.

General systems theory was later formed on the basis of these ideas. It was founded by Austrian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, who introduced the concept of open systems, which exchange matter, energy, and information with the environment, thus resisting destabilization.

While Determinists attempt to explain the behavior of a system by its component parts and interconnections, Holographists find novel qualities illustrating emergent features in it that cannot be accounted for solely from its internal structure. Therefore, the Holographical paradigm can generally be called a systemic-ecological worldview.

Contemporary ‘green’ ideology is an epitomization of this cognitive form. This does not in any way imply that the ideologues of this movement are Holographical types—cognitive styles and proclaimed viewpoints may not necessarily coincide! Manifestations of one cognitive style through another are completely typical. The books of “quantum psychologist” Robert Anton Wilson are a good example of this, in which his Dialectical-Algorithmic form is laden with multi-perspective, holographic content [5].

Psychological Sphere

Holographical cognition corresponds to a stable, self-possessed psyche resistant to conditioning. In comparing the conditionability of an LSI psyche to its Involutionary Mirror SLE, observation shows that the degree of psychological resistance is much higher in the latter. How is this explained? By the durable cognitive infrastructure on which it is built. Complete panorama, which allows periodic change of perspective on the subject. Good balance between the immune and nervous systems, as well as the primary sense organs.

In neuro-linguistic programming, this principle is used in a technique called ‘reframing’. Reframing changes the perceptual framework contextualizing an event. If we mentally place a familiar object into an unfamiliar context, then significance of the whole situation changes. For example, imagine a tiger first in a jungle, then in a zoo cage, then on the balcony of your apartment. The standard Socionics type is depicted as immersed in its ‘club’. But what if you shift it to quadra? What if it turns out to be among types with opposite cognitive styles? The chain can continue indefinitely.

With reframing it is possible to see the familiar with fresh eyes. The type of the psyche in one who resorts to this technique remains constant of course, only their subjective relation to the object of attention is changed. The benefit of this method is primarily in the fact that new perspectives emphasize aspects of a situation that may have been previously underestimated, allowing the possibility of discovering new avenues of growth, and expanding one’s existing range of choices.

Scientific Sphere

A real-life physical model of this multi-perspective intellect is the hologram—a superimposition of multiple images where each one can only be seen when looking at a certain angle. Change of perspective occurs intermittently and does not alter the system itself, only its priorities. In this way, multiple standards can be implemented, making it possible to work with a complex system as if it were a simple sequence.

Another real-life prototype of Holographical cognition are fractal objects, discovered by mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in the 1970s. Geometrically, fractals are figures with diffuse outlines, possessing self-similar internal structures. For example, trees, snowflakes, coastlines, etc. They are characterized by multiple internal forms similar in principle to nesting-dolls. Like a hologram, any fragment of a fractal contains complete information about the entire fractal. The part is always structurally similar to the whole.

Socionics types are also like fractal objects. Hence my holographic concept of personality as a nested system of types, one inside another [4]. Which opposes the prevailing flat view of Socionics advocated by people with reductionist thinking.

Vortical-Synergetic Cognition

The fourth cognitive style: it is synthetic, positive, and inductive. Its most appropriate title is Vortical-Synergetic. This form flows in Sociotypes ESE, SLI, LIE, IEI (ESFj, ISTp, ENTj, INFp, respectively)

Synergetics—the science of how order emerges from chaos. The word ‘synergy’ in Ancient Greek means “concerted action”. The concept of synergy continues to be discussed at present. In the West, it is called ‘Chaos Theory’ or ‘Nonlinear Dynamics’ [9]. For our purposes, it is important to note that it is characterized by so-called dissipative states—non-equilibrium, nonlinear, unstable.

As Dynamics, Synergetics think fluidly with tints of one thought cascading into another. As Positivists, they converge towards a point of attraction. As Involutionary types, they frequently turn backwards and jump over previous levels, displacing the flow of their thoughts like a vortex or fluctuating storm.

IEI as if in a kaleidoscope sees whimsical iridescent imagery, dissolving then receding in flux. LIE thinks very experimentally with many variants rapidly assorted and mentally tested on the fly for practical applicability. ESE initiates a social torrent leaving behind a trail of emotional turbulence. Thoughts ‘swarm’ and chaotically displace one another. SLI ‘lies in a drift’ as it were awaiting favorable wind. Once the situation becomes favorable, self-organization immediately takes hold and rapid thinking initiates, scrolling through incoming information, identifying options most and least likely to succeed.

Intellectual Sphere

Characteristic of a ‘vortex’ is its self-organizing nature, moving like a whirlwind. This manifests mentally as a rapid search for options, tests, and the subsequent screening of variants which do not yield results. It operates on basis of testing, advancing to the goal through trial and error. In a sense, it is comparable to a perpetual lab experiment in the brain.

The first advantage of Vortical cognition—liveliness and naturalness. It seems to simulate the actual processes occurring in nature. Another advantage—faith in success and luck. Synergetics do not confuse temporary setbacks with error; they will undertake attempt after attempt until success ultimately comes to them.

Its chief disadvantage is that the intellectual search is often blind and uneconomical. Another difficulty is its randomness and spontaneity. Synergetic intellect is a kind of chain reaction that catalyzes itself. The mechanism of positive feedback operates: if not curbed, then the concentration of effort first leads to an explosion, followed by dissipation.

Synergetic intellect explains phenomena through substantive reasoning. The very substance (material or substrate) itself generating phenomena through natural movement. In the Aristotle example, the cause of sculpture is the block of marble from which it was made.

Social Sphere

Vortical cognition developed into a unique intellectual paradigm that was deemed later than all others to have social merit, despite it being most akin to natural phenomena. It is known that in natural conditions, all processes run in cycles. For example, in laissez-faire economies operating on Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ principle, natural cyclical fluctuations in market supply and demand guide the natural equilibrium prices of goods.

Studying biological evolution, Charles Darwin discovered its origin as a struggle for existence against natural selection, and survival of the fittest organisms. The main engine of this ‘evolution’, is involution through events of random variation, which abruptly leave no intermediate gradual links between appearances of species.

Biological self-organization is catalyzed by mutation—sudden, unpredictable changes in genetic material. Involution generates pulsating chaos, as evolution simultaneously selects and propagates useful mutations.

Following in the involutionary trend of Darwinism, the concept of ‘punctuated equilibrium’ emphasizes the discontinuous development of species observed in nature. Authors Gould and Eldridge conclude from this fact that smooth gradual evolution of species is impossible under natural conditions. To survive, all organs must simultaneously be in working order; there are no creatures present with half-fin wings, half-hoof toes, etc. According to this theory, the lifetime of a species is divided into two unequal stages of duration. The first stage is stasis, long periods where no significant species change occurs. Then the second stage, a time of fracture when the species is rapidly converted into another form, or dies out.

In the 20th century, as I mentioned, the vortex idea was rediscovered and Synergetics adopted its armament. The motto of Synergetics—order through fluctuation. Such fluctuations (local perturbations in the system) are analogous to biological mutation. Order in the chaotic evolution of complex socio-psychological systems, Socionics understands through the law of quadra progression. However, we must not forget that in the irreversible progression of quadras is a series of involutional junctures—jumps, twists, and turns. Because of this, the real non-theoretical quadra progression curve is jagged and looped, its outline resembling the dancing tongues of a burning flame.

Psychological Sphere

This cognitive style imbues qualities of endurance and optimism to the psyche. However, the psyche of Synergetics is less stable than that of Holographers. Synergetic types are partially conditionable, but capable of discarding undesired habits. For restoration of normal mental life they need specific, and sometimes long periods of trial and error. Depriving their life of continuous forward movement exerts a bad effect upon their mind. Operating principle: As ambient momentum of circumstance declines, their self-determination atrophies. Lack of oncoming circumstantial pressures renders them increasingly worse off.

The best countermeasure in such situations is positive self-programming. Consisting of forcing disturbing thoughts to the background and dissolving them in positive scenarios. IEI before sleep visualizes a pleasant scene to remove disturbing experiences of the day. LIE casts a desirable goal in its imagination, optimistic it will eventually acquire the necessary persons and resources. ESE simply does not think about past mistakes and its mood is improved by itself. SLI is not the first place puts a positive scenario and awaits the moment possible to implement it.

It is often forgotten that the synergetic aspect of development makes extended forecasts futile. American meteorologist Edward Lorenz descriptively coined this phenomenon the ‘Butterfly Effect’. Where a butterfly waving its wings in some part of America can, with specific confluence of circumstances, induce a hurricane somewhere in Indonesia. Complex nonlinear phenomena are unpredictable, because tiny initial influences with time can lead to enormous consequences. In conventional life, this same phenomenon is called the Domino Effect. Where the initial fall of the first domino successfully entails catastrophe of the series. The catalyzing action, whose event occurs on your will, determines which of the scenarios will run—optimistic or pessimistic.

Scientific Sphere

This cognitive form reflects the synergy formed by the current worldview. Within this paradigm during the 18th century arose the Kant-Laplace hypothesis about the vortex origin of the sun and planets from cosmic dust.

The Synergetic paradigm is opposed to Creationism; the emergence of complex systems explains spontaneous creation, not divine intervention. A typical example from the history of science is biochemist A. I. Oparin’s hypothesis on the emergence of life from inanimate matter in the primordial ‘broth’ of Earth’s early existence, which was largely confirmed in Stanley Miller’s famous 1953 experiment.

Also hailing from the Synergetic paradigm comes the outlook of Nikolai Amosov. According to him it “explains the evolution of the world’s self-organizing structures… miracles can happen, but are of no practical value.” He sincerely believes demonstrative simulations can be recreated by computer models.

Synergetics recognize the critical role of chance and free will in transitional moments of history. Synergetically-minded scholars frequently consider alternative historical outcomes. British historian Arnold J. Toynbee in particular, explored this twist on the course of ancient history—what if Alexander of Macedon did not die (pessimistic version), how would the world have developed then (optimistic version)?

A real-life model of Synergetic cognition is the turbulent flow. Turbulence is a liquid or gas flow, in which there is rapid mixing of its moving layers. The behavior of such flows cannot be predicted. Whereas the preceding laminar flow phrase exhibits clear regularities deducible by Causal-Determinism.

Mathematical modeling of natural growth processes typically uses exponential functions. Such functions describe geometric progressions, rather than arithmetic values. Logarithmic (S-shaped) curves terminating in saturation points are common in dynamic modeling. Implying that self-organization is not omnipotent: after exceeding a certain limit, it exhausts its own momentum. At which point it becomes necessary to either yield to external structure, or create a new nexus of self-organization. Synergetic types naturally select the latter.

Lev N. Gumilev offers a Synergetic account for involutions of ethnogenesis in the birth, growth, and death process of societies. Social systems dictate rules of selection for specific behaviors of people. Charismatic-personalities (cranks, outcasts, dissenters) engender a variety of diverse social mutations. Society holds them at bay, until such time that it weakens for any reason (due to economic crisis, internal wars, cultural stagnation, etc.). Afterwards, the energy of a new order vigorously sweeps the decrepit system and begins to grow in its place. But sooner or later, the new order itself will age just the same and be forced to give way to an alternative system ripening in its depths, and so forth.

Vortical cognition is hardest to convey to people of Algorithmic cognition, since to them free choice and the game of chance opposes teleology, fate, the special role of a creator, etc. When Synergetics speak about the implicit order in chaos, if we translate their words to the language of Socionics, they imply that Holographical cognition, with its minimally convoluted ordering structures, is dual to the chaotic vortex.


What you focus attention on creates your subjective world. If you concentrate attention on problems, then your world will be full of obstacles. Focus on the positive side of the situation and it becomes easier to live. Will reduce the scope of thought, come to the idea of creator. You will enlarge, to believe in free will.

Socionics useful to formulate criterion for high-level professionals. Average specialists analyze only the conditions of the problem, and highly qualified only its method of solution. Anyone aware of their own intellectual limitations can learn to overcome them, or better yet, seek the aid of people which think in these forms already because of their Sociotype. In any event, systematic work in this way will increase efficiency of your intellect.

Quartet types, referred to as Supervision rings, are macro-model internal information structures of the psyche. Perfecting this structure is the first radical step in managing ever-increasing volumes of data. The second step is to move to collective forms of intellectual activity. All the complexity is to properly combine these forms of thinking in a coherent group. Otherwise we are really confronted with the end of the science, exhausted separately of all 4 basic paradigms established in the acclaimed book by J. Horgan [7].

Your thoughts will only firmly and without distortion penetrate public consciousness if your quartet learns your POV. They indeed think in the same form as you, but refract it through different kinds of activity. Only after passing through all the regular stages—from inception to development, debugging, and implementation—can an idea be fully ushered into reality. No need to confine to quadra limits. Real propagation occurs through the Supervision ring. Quadra is important, but only a way-station along this path.

Thinking geniuses are most likely the ultimate version of Dialectical-Algorithmic cognition. Its originality lies in free play of mind, boundless imagination, and daring synthesis of contrasts. Almost always, it accompanies negativity with respect to public opinion. Often possesses a mystical streak. If Western typology believes that brilliant thinkers belonged to a type, then in my opinion it would be EIE. Unbalanced nervous system, hot and restless heart, floods of idea associations—this would be the material from which nature sculpts geniuses.

  • Alekseev AA, Gromova LA Do not get me pravilno6 or a book on how to find your style of thinking, effective use of intellectual resources and gain rapport with people. – St., School of Economics, 1993.
  • Gulenko VV Synthesis and antisintez polarities. Epistemological dichotomy. Socionics, Mentology and personality psychology. – 1998. – NN 5-6.
  • Gulenko VV, Tyshchenko VP Jung in school. Socionics – mezhvozrastnoy pedagogy. Educational and methodical. allowance. – Novosibirsk: Izdatel’stvo NGU, 1997.
  • Gulenko VV Man as a type system. The problem of diagnosing the ego and persona. Socionics, Mentology and personality psychology. – 2000. – N 6.
  • Robert A. Wilson. Quantum Psychology. Translated from English. Ed. J. Nevstrueva. – K.: “Janus”, 1999.
  • Godefroy J. What is Psychology: In 2 Vols Volume 1: Ed. with the French. – M.: Mir, 1996., Pp. 436.
  • Horgan J. The End of Science: A look at the limited knowledge in the twilight of the Century of Science, Ed. from English. M. Zhukova. – St.: Amphora, 2001.
  • Kapitsa SP, Kurdyumov SP, Synergetics and forecasts of the future. Moscow: Nauka, 1997.
  • Gleick J. Chaos. Creating a new science, Ed. from English. M. Nakhmanson, E. Wing. – St.: Amphora, 2001.

Examples not part of the article above … but applicable

This section contains examples of statements that have been collected over time from various sources and that possibly reflect and illustrate the workings of different cognitive styles.

Dialectical-Algorithmic Cognition (DA)


  • “But I do think in complications and contingencies, and balance a lot of conflicting possibilities in my mind all at once.” – EIE
  • “… my thinking style mostly consists of balancing opposites, finding middle grounds and relative truths based on the relative strength of opposing internal dispositions; when I’m under stress it kind of feels like I’m walking a tight rope, trying to balance what’s going on in my head. To me it feels like a constant balancing act of my own internal tendencies for the things that I consider good and evil, the things I consciously do to improve myself and the world and my ability to promote my own vision of how I think things should be vs. the evils I am compelled to do either by my own impulses that I struggle to control or by circumstance. Everything I do is weighed on these scales, every word that comes out of my mouth, every emotional signal I send, every action I take, and the final outcome, what comes out of me and goes into the world, is dependent on how the scales are balancing inside me.” – EIE
  • “I have a horrible talent for entertaining and enhancing oppositions in my mind. If two things don’t go together, I put them together in my perceptions. And I get paralyzed or something. I’m basically nuts. It’s that I really see how a thing and its opposite fit together, locked up. And that can bring me a huge amount of pleasure, to see that. The downside seems to be that I can’t … um, function. These are gestalts. And so a good friend will come in with a nice hammer and start breaking it into pieces.” – EIE
  • “The best I can represent it as would be something like a scale that has weight being constantly poured onto it, and the ENFJ’s role is to dictate where the weight falls in order to maintain proper balance. I think it makes a lot of sense for Aristocratic EJs: rational aristocracy is all about maintaining a social structure, so its fitting that the Ejs have a style of thinking that supports their role, one focused on “keeping things together.” The mental assumption of Ej temperament is that everything is in motion, and that it should be organized, and that energy needs to be exerted in order to maintain organization; the Democrat Ejs (ENTjs) being the transition point to aristocratic quadras, take a more generative role with Vortex thinking, finding the right opportunity to promote cathectic action; once the shift is made into an extant collective, the Aristocratic Ejs (ENFjs) take on the role of holding everything together once the opportunity to organize has been capitalized upon.” – EIE
  • “I wanted to set up a situation where there are hundreds of sentences all of which are plausibly true to someone, but then in effect pose the question “what do you do, how, for example, would you govern given all these conflicting opinions?” – LSE, aristocratic EJ
  • “I feel like a triple-agent or a fence-sitter. … I don’t think I switch sides so much as I’m thoroughly a part of both sides. In the final battle, my friend and I will just be hitting ourselves.” – LSE
  • “All that we identify with in reality was all brought about by the psychic current of introversion. Extraversion is like a contra-density, a force of expansion and inflation that prevents the complete nullification of all ideas and concepts, and the collapse of all psychic energy in the universe into recursive introversion. It is the mirror image of introversion in every respect, and has to be in order to function as a perfect eternal balance giving rise to infinite truths in infinite forms.” – ILI
  • “It’s challenging being a wife and a mother. It’s a paradox – a paradox are when two opposites are true, and I’ve learned that my life is full of mini-paradoxes, of much paradox. So being a wife and a mother is probably one of the most extraordinary experiences and the most fulfilling experiences in my life. But at the same time, it has been very difficult to balance, being able to do the things that I want to do and have the freedoms that I want to have, and also being responsible for your brothers and your father. I’m constantly everyday trying to figure out that balance. Figuring out how to help you fulfill your dreams, at the same time assisting Daddy and his dreams, assisting your brothers and their dreams and then trying to figure out what my dreams are. So every day when I wake up in the morning and I go into meditation and I ask for guidance. I get focused.” – ILI
  • “I tend to view myself in terms of certain attributes. Like for example, I’m intelligent, foolish, amiable, distant, novelty-loving, rut-oriented, independent, afraid of losing people, savor the moment, and am pretty indolent. I have my moments, both ways. Sometimes at the same time!” – SEI (notice the juxtaposition of the opposites)
  • “I suppose what I meant by grouping all these people in one thread is that I think although they’re not the same type. Juxtaposing clearly different individuals side by side helps me to see the psychology of them. That’s probably super obvious to everyone but me, but for some reason last night this was like a lame epiphany since usually when I think of someone’s type I think of them alone, like an island, or something.” – SEI
  • How DA and CD thinking styles complement each other, described by ILE: “The way I look at CD logic and DA thinking is that they form a state(static)-operator(dynamic) pairing. DA thinking provides the algorithmic form. CD logic provides the variable which determines the solution. So for function A(param X) {if X = b then Y else Z} DA thinking provides the algorithmic form while CD thinking provides the variable. By supply X, Y or Z is determined. I don’t create if-then-else propositions. By supplying variables to pre-existing functions, I determine the singular result.”
  • Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu exemplifies D-A thinking style. Notice the juxtaposition of the opposites and numerous negativist, dynamic constructions. The verses have a distinct back-and-forth rocking style.
  • “I’m not raging against socionics, do not see a point in that in the first place. To me, it is the same, people who are against and people who are for, same boat, different opinion but still same boat. If it wasn’t some other scenario, those people wouldn’t be even here and just said “meh”, and left. So they’re a part of the whole to me, a cog, thinking they’re going to tinker with it and it is going to sink. Well, true believers just tighten the screws seeing that and balance is achieved. So you all can rage all you want, for and against, for you all are wearing shackles that you put on yourself willingly and enjoy it. For example: Subject A: Socionics is bullshit, Subject B: Socionics is real: A+B = Socionics. Classic push and pull. – LSE

Causal-Determinist Cognition (CD)


  • “I see flashes of instantaneous understanding of the cause and effect of every possible action I could take at that very moment, and I choose extremely quickly which one is the best choice.” – LSI
  • “There is like a flowchart in my mind. Every single possible if-then statement is recorded and stored in my brain and I have an amazing memory for it. My plans for the future can be written in C++ format if I wanted. (If I get this job, I will stay for 6 months. Else I will find a new job & work on my real estate liscence simultaneously). When I was younger, interacting with people was a huge flowchart for me, because I had no emotional intelligence (and it is debatable if I still do). I would make a complete flowchart in my mind so I could control the interaction and know exactly how a person was going to react so I wouldn’t get my feelings hurt. For example, I would plan an entire interaction in my mind, “I’m going to say “hi, how are you?” her possible responses will be: nothing, something non-commital, and something engaging. If the person says nothing, I will try again and stop conversation if they don’t respond. If the person says something non-committal, I’ll leave. If the person says something engaging, I will start such-and-such topics of conversation with him or her: X, Y, Z.” – LSI
  • How DA and CD thinking styles complement each other, described by ILE: “The way I look at CD logic and DA thinking is that they form a state(static)-operator(dynamic) pairing. DA thinking provides the algorithmic form. CD logic provides the variable which determines the solution. So for function A(param X) {if X = b then Y else Z} DA thinking provides the algorithmic form while CD thinking provides the variable. By supply X, Y or Z is determined. I don’t create if-then-else propositions. By supplying variables to pre-existing functions, I determine the singular result.”
  • “If one asks how one’s mind works, he notices areas where it is (perhaps incorrectly) understood, that is, where one recognizes rules. One sees other areas where he lacks rules. One could fill this in by postulating chance or random activity. But this too, by another route, exposes the self to the same indignity of remote control. We resolve this unpleasant form of M** by postulating a third part, embodying a will or spirit or conscious agent. But there is no structure in this part; one can say nothing meaningful about it, because whenever a regularity is observed, its representation is transferred to the deterministic rule region. The will model is thus not formed from a legitimate need for a place to store definite information about one’s self; it has the singular character of being forced into the model, willy-nilly, by formal but essentially content-free ideas of what the model must contain.” – LSI or ILE
  • “I think here lies the problem with the system. There has been no consistent principle put forth in the past five years, of how the system actually works. Frankly I thought Socionics was a good theory until baseless arguments begin on how the system works.” – LSI
  • “This is why socionics is so confusing. For some people it means one thing, for another something else. There needs to be a set description with no chance for uncertainty.” – LSI, (People of types with C-D style of thinking seem to experience the most difficulty learning socionics, perhaps because some of basic axioms of socionics have never been clearly stated. The high levels of ambiguity embedded in socionics present a challenge to C-D thinkers in attempting to grasp it. V. Gulenko has also made a comment that socionics is easier to grasp for Result types, which rely on VS or HP thinking styles.)

Vortical-Synergetic Cognition (VS)


  • “But the best way to do it is – to make discoveries – is to make short imperfect experiments. Don’t worry about taking notes, in most cases, but just try things out. Shove nature around a little bit. Disturb it. Disturb an organism, disturb a small system and find out – to see if anything happens. And if it does, you might be on the edge of an important breakthrough, and then you sit down and devise experiments and take notes.” – SLI
  • “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers – people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.” – SLI
  • Tim Harford’s TED talk – SLI, his presentation demonstrates the trial-and-error intrinsic to VS cognitive style
  • “My thinking is alike mucking about in puddles – randomized, but following some sort of direction. Playing some music, my head clicks together properly and thoughts come into focused torrents. Headwise, I live in a world of organized chaos.” – IEI
  • “I love to deconstruct complex concepts, organize ideas, form conclusions or arguments by looking at it through several different lenses. I love that “Aha!” moment when everything clicks together for me.” – IEI, forum poster
  • “To be blunt, I arrived at this typing out of gestalt. Since I know myself better than anybody else, and since I am the common denominator in all of my inter-type relations, my self typing becomes the focal point around my understanding of socionics coalesces. Imagining myself to be different types is akin to playing around with the focus on a pair of binoculars. Everything comes out blurry at all focal settings other than this one. At this point, everything snaps into focus and I am taken aback by how well socionics premises appear to jive with my own experiences. Every other focal setting produces a jumbled mess of incoherence from which nothing of value can be gleaned.” – IEI
  • “Sometimes the connections and perceptions in my mind are so abstract there are no words to explain. A lot of times I just know something and can’t explain it – a premonition that’s hard to articulate. If it’s strong I usually say something or explore where it’s coming from, but I will keep it to myself if people don’t seem to understand. Informed decisions require lots of information and looking at a situation from as many different points of view as possible. I find it amusing, the absurdity in everyday situations.” – IEI
  • “Vortex thinking believes the system is not perfectly counter balanced, and the connections of all the data imply the value of an unknown variable (all the information points toward its value). The value of the variable is what brings the system back into balance. That’s why vortex thinking is opportunistic. Vortex thinking is searching for something.” – IEI
  • Videos exemplifying the search for attractors: Lorenz Attractor SimulationExploring Strange Attractors.
  • “You imply that nature intends something. That’s just you projecting your own human notions unto something that’s utterly inhuman in every way. There is no natural equilibrium, no balanced system that we’re parts of. There is no thought behind it. Nature is purposeless, mindless, violent, self consuming chaos, only it’s so slow we barely notice it. It does not “hint” and it does not “intend” us to reproduce. We’re completely meaningless results of a 4 billion long, automatic and completely mindless process of small random changes and sifting by natural selection. Whatever purpose you see here is made up by you.” – LIE
  • “Sometimes the time gap in between Point A and Point B is so far in between that it allows me to think of all the things I could have improved upon to have a better point B (interestingly enough while this is happening my mind is also hovering over Point C). It’s this point that I begin spiraling as the immensity of all the ways I could have made it better weighs on my shoulders. Somewhere in that chaos, the thought of “OMG I’m running out of time” crosses, until of course one settles. An epiphany hits and BAM you realize, “You’re way ahead in time and all things are falling into place (not perfect as envisioned) but they are aligning as you’ve imagined.” At this point, I think Point B is just about to meet you face-to-face at the exact moment you’ve predicted and Point C is already peaking over in the horizon.” – LIE
  • Alan Watts on harnessing the power of nature.
  • An MMO game likely incepted by someone with V-S cog-style
  • Visual illustration of VS cognition in music video

Holographical-Panoramic Cognition (HP)


  • “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary” – SLE
  • “Why the hell would I need to think about reasons? If I got them, I do stuff; if I don’t, I might do stuff just the same. Oftentimes the conclusion would be the same either way, but I get there faster if I just chop out a large bulk, if not all, of the deliberation.” – IEE
  • “When shit hits the fan, I stop all thinking and just do a bunch of stuff, and then everything turns out awesome. Seems I’m most comfortable when all hell is breaking loose.” – IEE
  • “There are two aspects to any person: essence and behavior. Typology based on behavior improves with complexity: the more dichotomies you come up with, the more accurate it is. On the other side, typology based on essence strives for simplicity: it’s about reducing personality to its minimal expression. There is no limit about how far you can go about complexity and this is why there are so many behavioral typological systems. But simplicity has a limit and that limit is probably Socionics.” – IEE
  • “I never over analyze the things that people say or do – I feel like people’s intentions are always very clear to me.” – ESI
  • “I don’t really focus on what they’re doing or why. It’s just not important to me. I’ll meet someone for the first time and pay hardly any attention to what they’re doing, tbh. Usually people say the wrong things or look awkward at first because they’re nervous, shy, or just not open to me yet—I’m not going to analyze the things they say. It just isn’t of much significance to me. However, I do tend to gather impressions of people when I first meet them, but it’s by observing something else. I suppose you could call it a person’s undertone? Like if you meet some girl who acts extroverted and bubbly, it’s not hard for me to look past that and see one general face to her—a more solid, internal, static thing that serves as a core despite her outward expressions. I guess it’s like spotting depression in someone even if they act like they’re on top of the world. And yeah, if I do meet someone that looks like they’re acting against who they are, it feels obvious to me. That sort of impression tends to last too, and I’ll wonder if they’ll ever start showing who [I think] they are. And even though I’m not going to really judge them for it, I still can’t get over the sense of internal friction they give off, and I feel like I can’t get close to people like that. I do trust my impressions, though. How I feel about them can and probably will change over time, but who I think they are pretty much stays the same.” – ESI
  • “Lets say that you are in a room that has no walls, no floor, and no roof. This room is completely free of conventional rules except for those of your own choosing, rules such as gravity for example. In this room, the focus of your attention is an object that you are dissecting or even expanding upon. You don’t have to come into direct contact with the object in order to move it in anyway. However, you choose to view the object will allow you to view in this way. You could choose to inverse the object in anyway shape or form to accurately/properly analyze it from your desired perspective.” – LII
  • “My frame of perception is constantly shifting, or I’m layering one on top of the other.” – LII
  • “Ne delves into possible realities. First, a schema appears before the mind’s eye, then the facts are filled in depending on the context, but the facts are never given value. There is no seeking of facts for their own sake.” – LII
  • LII’s explanation of HP thinking: “It is above all stable. Where Positive/Process strives for impact, Negative/Result strives for control. It involves a kind of sluggish maneuverability where the person has the ability to quickly change course while at the same time not making a lot of movements. The best analogy for this is a kind of kung-fu fighter that stands still and only steps out of the way when the opponent throws a punch at him. The above goes for the EPs as much as it goes for the IJs. Negative/Result EP types (ESTp, ENFp) can look a little IJ’ish for this reason. Their level of volatility/abruptness is lower than that of ENTp and ESFp. … Negative/Result/Static is about simply not acting. Positioning yourself strategically and waiting until the right moment to move arrives. This is not multitasking so much as it is simply being ready. … Negative/Result is all about reaching that state of familiarity where a very relaxed kind of control is possible, but one needs to make a big effort to get there – slow to understand, but very relaxed control once familiar with the topic.”
  • “I just started writing the script and kept writing, and it evolved and evolved. It’s like filling in a crossword puzzle. You know that word has got to be abracadabra, right? Because there’s no other word it can be until you get halfway through and you see that the word down the middle has a P in the middle of abracadabra and there is no P. So therefore, one of them has to be wrong. They can’t both be right. And the same thing is true about structuring a drama. You go along and say, “I know this has got to happen at the end of the second act,” until you realize you’ve spent two years, and it doesn’t work. So something’s wrong. Either the first and third acts are wrong or the second act is wrong. How am I going to fix it? The structure is the whole thing — getting the movie to eat up 15 lines on a sheet of paper so you can write it.” – SLE (This quote illustrates the problem solving aspect of negativist H-P thinking. It is similar to the above quote by an LII – the SLE likewise sees his puzzle as a whole picture, then he simply proceeds to fill in the blanks and work out the particulars, since for Result/Involutionary types, the thinking flows from general outlook to specifics.)
  • “Well, you can’t help but make a distinct movie. If you give yourself up to the form, it’s going to be distinctively your own because the form’s going to tell you what’s needed. That’s one of the great things I find about working in drama is you’re always learning from the form. You’re always getting humbled by it. It’s exactly like analyzing a dream. You’re trying to analyze your dreams. You say, “I know what that means; I know exactly what that means; why am I still unsettled?” You say, “Let me look a little harder at this little thing over here. But that’s not important; that’s not important; that’s not important. The part where I kill the monster — that’s the important part, and I know that means my father this and that. But what about this little part over here about the bunny rabbit? Why is the bunny rabbit hopping across the thing? Oh, that’s not important.” Making up a drama is almost exactly analogous to analyzing your dreams” – SLE (From main article: “According to Aristotle, Holographic cognition corresponds to explanation by structural or formative causes. Aristotle called it the structure of form. Returning to the sculptor example, the cause of the sculpture is its latent form, which the sculptor merely sets free by cutting away excess marble.”)