Recognizing cognition in music


Hello hello,

I guess this is my first post here. I’m basically addicted to the insights on this site, first of all the blog and then the many really insightful people and posts here. It’s just great reading all that stuff. (Prax I’m a hidden secret fan of your insights (until now I guess (how deep are you allowed to layer these anyways))) I hope it’s OK to start out the door with my own (wall of text) thread, fingers crossed XD, as I’ve been lurking and found that this is an integrated community with a good community spirit (or however it’s called) : ).

So this post is about music and trying to relate properties of the music to the cognitive functions. Because: I think music is the most direct expression of a person! (and supposedly (supposed by me) their cognition)

I’m just going to give this a go, and probably if you read this you will disagree with a bunch of the stuff I wrote but I would love to hear your thoughts on this to get further.

Of course I shall start with my own type since I’m a self centered Fi dom and have no clue (eg Se)

INFP music

Ne (valued) in music:
There are short clusters of notes that form a mini-pattern. They keep repeating, yet continuously changing and refreshing themselves, so they are recognizable but still sound new. There’s no accents on the individual notes. The pattern that repeats can be formed by a variable number of notes; No single note is essential to the pattern, and various notes may be added and omitted as the pattern repeats (as opposed to music that’s heavy in Se)

Si (valued) in music:
The individual notes flow and blur together into one sensory flow, rather than having spikes of energy as with Se music. Conscious control of sensory harmony. There may be intentional play with harmony and disharmony to convey something, like an emotion or event in a movie.

Fi (valued):
The music represents emotion (duh). It’s hard to describe, but more specifically, playful patterns quickly alternating with very serious sounding parts may be indicative of Fi/Ne as far as I can tell. The emotions in music go further than e.g. the standard hollywood ‘epic or shit is about to happen’ or ‘shit is hitting the fan BAAAAArgrghr BAAArgr BAAArgrgr’ movie soundtracks, but they can convey a better sense of wonder, beauty, sadness, optimism, determination, anxiety, being overwhelmed… basically more fine grained emotions that can alternate within one piece.

Te (valued inferior/transcedental)
I don’t know!

Se POLR/weak spot:
Music may seem inconcrete, ungrounded, hard to follow/grasp and lack ‘punch’. There is no clear climax or goal that we’re working towards. The climaxes that are there seem random and might abrubtly transition into something else (and leave the Se valuers… unsatisfied : P)

Ni id:
Well good luck relating this to music but I’m going to try. Although at first glance the Ne patterns are clear enough to catch onto and not immensely complex by any means, but when listening for a while, there’s more to them than meets the eye (ear?). Combined you might see that the Ne patterns combine into something more complex, circling around a fuzzy Ni essence. This makes the music somehow complex, but what’s going on is too fuzzy to put a finger on it. Can’t really easily catch the intuitive structure of the music even though it’s clearly not random Ne patterns (…?) If i have to take a shot in the dark, it’s kind of like Si (id) in that it gives an intuitive version of the sense of being engorged in a big process that just keeps going and going and going and going and… the Ne patterns refresh and refresh, but the patterns themselves convey… repetition. Like it’s giving you the direct experience of how everything is always the same thing happening over and over, but nonetheless its beautiful and fresh every time. (If i’m falling back to the Id, sometimes i feel like its pointless because i already know what’s going to happen and it’s pointless to go through the motions. But through the motions I shall go and when I do it usually turns out that its beautiful! (ne) and I think a similar thing can be said for Si id with Se aux … but that’s besides the point). Ok, now looking back at what I wrote about Ni id I think that this may really just be me projecting things onto music that aren’t there?

Example of INFP music:

ISTP music
Si (id) in music:
Lots of repeating of the same exact pattern, which remains unchanged and not refreshed (Ne polr) but the pattern is beautifully executed and explored in detail. The music is a sensory experience that pulls you in and lets you experience it quite viscerally. Think ‘soundscape’.

Se (valued):
There’s force to the instruments (duh) There are spikes of energy. A heavy beat would be an obvious example to explain this concept, but most music has a beat so it’s not a great criterion to determine how strong the Se component in the music is. Instead, try to get a ‘sense’ for regular buildups to …—!!!–… spikes of energy! pa da da da BAM! : P
Se is not about combining sensory elements that ‘belong’ together (as determined by many past experiences) (that’s Si): Se pictures are stimulating and colorful yet they’re just kind of sensorily incoherent. The same goes for Se music, but combined with the Si id, somehow these elements, without the sensory integration being clear or classic (like proven combinations of instrumens / proven instrumental styles) still are beautiful combinations of Se.

Ni (valued):
The repeating patterns don’t get refreshed but they do circle around something. There’s a kind of structure to the music. It’s abstractly integrated.

Ti (valued)
I’m not sure. There’s logical structure. It’s not anal (like maybe Te id). It just makes sense. There’s a progression. Now we’re listening to this pattern repeat. now this pattern. now there’s a climax. the segmentation of the parts in the track is clear.

Example of ISTP music:

Example of ISFP music:

ENTP Music
Weak Fi: Emotional intensity is over the top so that it sounds faux. Forced hollywood kind of emotion. Even so it manages to pull me in if i get over that, because the music is beautiful, and somehow, there is still an essential, playful kind of authenticity to the music.
Inferior/Transcedental Si: The sensory harmony is minimalist but somehow beautiful (especially on hi fi audio)
Ne: Patterns like with the INFP music, but they’re on the foreground now, the music is entirely built around the patterns
Te id: The patterns are kind executed with a certain ‘order’, like some anal perfectionist had an itch to fit everything together in a certain logical fashion, which in turn kills some of the spirit (emotional content) of the music.
Fe: Well the singing and patterns are beautiful, I can really feel the Fe but I don’t know where its coming from in the music. Maybe the ‘slickness’ of the specific Ne pattern that was used.

INFJ Music

I’m going to talk about this specific example I think is INFJ music:

NI (valued dom)
There is a big empty ‘zen’ like abstract space (the lyrics are literally about dreaming) And the music gives a sence of this big Ni space with the soft zany voices echoing in the background and the voilins flowing under this tight minimalist beat.

Se (Valued inferior/transcedental):
The music has punch but it’s minimalist sensing. Somehow it perfectly conveys this Ni space.
The lyrics talk about concrete things and put out force, directing you, the listener, to do things and giving you facts (Se): YOU GOT TO GO. KEEP HOLD OF ALL THAT YOU ARE. MOVE YOUR FEET. YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE SKY BELONGS TO NO ONE. The concrete terms (Se) are really symbols for Ni concepts.

Fe (valued creative):
There is an inspirational factor to the lyrics and the sound of the music. I recognize the fe in just the mmmmmmmmmm follow your dreams ~~ :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: it’s trying to influence you and put you in that mood of just going after your dreams! BTW, this artist literally released an album called group therapy.

Fi (unvalued id)
Well it’s idealistic! Very much so! But no where overtly. It’s packaged as instructions for the listener(Se) and facts (se) and ideas (Ni) —> (the sky belongs to no one)


OMG, what an incrediblly insightful first post!

I had an intuition years ago that there was a connection between the type functions and different types or styles of music, but nothing as detailed as your ideas.

And as an INFJ, I can say that “You Got To Go” is very much the type of electronic dance music that I love the most, for all the reasons you listed. Check out the “Soul Albums” thread, where I posted a link to a “Psytrance” mix just over 20 minutes ago, before I even read your post!

I have very broad musical tastes in general, and use music a lot to reflect or adjust my ever-changing moods. But nothing beats modern EDM for improving my mood, increasing my productivity (I’ve been listening to it all day at work) and, most of all, for silencing the discordant cacophony of voices inside my noisy brain…
:notes: :musical_note: :dancer:


these are amazing. i really am curious what you have to say about ESTP!


Oooh! I know very little about music but love listening to interesting things!
INFP music is very “sparkly” and dreamy to my ears.
I really liked the links to ISFP and ISTP music haha. I think it’s the Se I am into.

I also really like the sound of this band, Ginzhu, and wanna hear more of this type:

I feel like this is very “cool” ISTP music… loungey but assassiny or sexy. It usually starts pretty bare Ti-ish but has this killer vibe and satisfying payoff (Se?). MMMMMmm… heavily swoons
Maaaaaybe it’s ESTP music? But I feel ESTP music is usually much more high energy (like The Weeknd or Bruno Mars? Much more Se finesse on the forefront?)

I also generally enjoy listening to synthwave even if I don’t know many bands or songs by name in particular (maybe I just gots a hard on for videogamey music):

I feel that has a pretty Ti + Se (?) focus too. But maybe the “weird” alien/space vibe of it is a taste of Ni distortion/transcendence as well… or is that Ne? Hmm…!


Great to see that there’s some interest in this thing and that people are recognizing type in music!

@prax i’d also classify those songs you posted as ISTP too! (Enneagram 4w3 or 3w4 ish) with the cool/melancholic vibe. I think the coolness of that spy sound is the Fe of ISTP. So I think this is another example of an ISTP track with the 4w3 vibe:

Heres some music videos of ESTP music… oh boy : P I picked a certain kind of ESTP sub vibe here with lots of sexyness. I agree Bruno Mars seems ESTP which is a different kind of music

The Se is really obvious in the sound and videos. There’s the stimulating imagery (the sexual innuendo, the colors, and the lack of coherence (Si) in them). They also seem to really focus on the sound of the individual electronic notes. I imagine some heavy engineering went into creating interesting sounds with a tight\slick\snappy\fat\ whatever sound (With my weak Se i have a hard time understanding what those really mean)
And the lyrics, well… very explicit Se stuff : ) Fun loving spirit, nowhere is the Fi gravitas to be found.


Yeah, ESTP songs are very “fun” songs!
But PHEW the sexual tone in those last few ones! hahaha
Though the one with Alex Gaudino and Crystal Waters almost seems ENFJ because it’s so much more bombastic and “LOOK AT ME FOLLOW ME!”. Almost… ESTJish even because of commanding voice haha. The other ones are much more flirty fun.


I picked some stereotypical ESTP videos and I will gladly acknowledge that this is not representative of all ESTPs. I also don’t think these should be dismissed in any way (not saying that anyone did, but I’m mentioning it just in case). The Se in the videos (and not just the innuendo) is a kind of black magic to me, by far not all types have a handle on it (eg us INFPs).

And @Prax ,great I think you’re right about the crystal waters having ENFJ vibes! I see a bit of smoothness instead of that fun loving spirit. Gave me a nice tinge of insight


Hahahaha that satisfaction video Hit me in the Id lol. Interesting difference between the satisfaction one, which I found really compelling, and the Marching Band one, which I found super unsatisfactory Lol. The marching band one felt purely exploitational like, I think I understand everything going on there pretty well. Maybe it was more pure Se while the Satisfaction one is like, if I had created that I would be proud of it as an Entp. Maybe more Ne in it possible.


Or maybe it’s the Te id? As you said the video hit you in the Id (and ESTPs have Te id as well)


As far as I know, to me Lana del Rey is the epitome of ESTP music, also, she’s a Leo something and a Cancer or Pisces something (I don’t remember which was the sun and which the moon sign, also, I remember one was Ni and the other Fe). So it’s a really fun mix up in her personality, she’s great as far as I’m concerned


Sure it could be just that. I think they the whole conciet for that video is a little stronger though. All those tools. I guess Se uses tools too. But I just loved reading all the roll descriptions it was very interesting aha.

Check this screen shot out I love it

Now I was watching more videos by the Italian DJ who did the marching band one. And I realized suddenly “oh yeah, Se makes me exhausted.”

That’s the difference was that the tool one had me laughing and energized and the marching band guy, whose other video had a similar flavor, his stuff didn’t leave me energized but tired.

But at any rate. All the stuff going on In this thread is so interesting.


I see the text, lets analyze it: "Clay spade and bolsters must be purchased seperately"
It sounds like a command, and/or a fact and is very concrete and specific in the sense that it relates to this specific tool and its usage. Which is why it looks like Se to me. I also get your point of Ne though, in the sense that it’s fun and random concept to actually show these descriptions in a music video where they’re funny. And ENTPs do seem to love random details about things with that Si inferior! So maybe there was an ENTP on the production team of the video, doing a collab with an ESTP? Who knows :slight_smile:


I liked the Satisfaction video and was mesmerized by it because of the tool descriptions (I have a love for reading labels or directions too). It’s probably speaking to your Ti! hahaha
So maybe it’s a much more Ti forefront pasted over Se background type of song.

While Alex Guadino stuff is very much bombastic and “crafted” in a polished way, so it’s more Te-Se kind of combination which is like… both your weaknesses, so draining.

Here’s another one I was thinking about that I REALLY REALLY LIKE!!! Beautiful beautiful 80s vibe. Probably ISTP + bombast again. So maybe even close INTJ musics haha. I like it anyway.

And again thie SWEET SWEET Ti sound and pristine imagery that beckons to outerspace and a horizon of black breaking with distant starlight, so LOOK AT THE AMAZING CHOEREOGRAPHY AND CG!!!


Wow that turbo killer video is really good! When I just look at the whole thing, the visuals and sound being so good it makes me think they’re channeling their Id. I wonder how you recognize that ‘sweeet ti’, i’ve no clue how to recognize it (although it does very much look like ISTP vibes to me) It also made me think of this video, although it’s not as good


Yeah thst chemical brothers one is one of my favorite ever ever

Was trying to remember what it was.

It might be intp music

I think Ne music is more likely to have words in general


Okay I have found a video I think is more Entp than the earlier examples.

Because I think for music, and film, with Entp, it’s kind of like, back to Blake’s discussion of layering things on top of each other and seeing what could be.

Ne: lyrics
“Boys, shoot to thrill…”
Melody: in motion and sliding around, devolving into raspy yelling

Ti: the relationship between guitars and drums in hardcore (I don’t know genres well but would, if I had to, call this music “pop hardcore”) music tends to have interesting mathematical and rhythmic interplay.

Si aspirations: roller Skating rink, basic structure of a band playing music, familiarity and “you’ve seen this before” kind of thing.

Notice he hand claps at 1:16. Haha. Love it. That’s like how the whole thing comes together, Si, Fe, Ne, Ti.

I think Entp art in general is probably anchored by Si in this way and thus has a clear relationship To popular art of the day

That last line: “I have no lover, and she hasn’t the prettiest eyes.”

Let me continue editing and adding …

The whole tone of this video is like, sepia, which could be seen as a sort of hipster thing but I think serves the point about Si nostalgia.

This video is fundamentally nonviolent. It’s like anti Se. Se role.


Blake actually did a typing challenge on st Vincent where I was making a case for INTJ (if i remember correctly). He made a case for her being INFJ (and makes sense to me)! She’s like an INFJ with a major pokerface (I wonder why though, it just seems odd to me )


To me, Ti is a very “pure” almost disconnected and mathematically sound. Also not surprisingly, it often involves synths to extract that sound purity and mathematical possibility. It can also sometimes just be “noisy” but there’s an inorganic essence to it to me. Often when it gets extended or echoey, and sounds more “lost in space” I attach that to Ni or Ne flavour depending on how focused it is. But a lot of this is just like… whatever imagery it evokes in me.

Sometimes I wish I could be synesthetic in order to experience “sound ad colour, numbers as sound, etc” in full, lol.

Neurotech music, like the race to recovery one, has less Se “bite” in the sound but also more layering of some orchestral/symphonic sounds, so perhaps even more INTJish hahah. Even if not as “good” or sexy to me. I think INTJ tend to layer like that anyway (some simpler core theme, add on top more epic and organic stuff to give it more life haha).


Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I agree that neurotech has less Se bite but I still think it’s ISTP.

People with Si id (ISFP and ISTP) seem like very organic people to me, because of the high Si. INTJs with high Ni and Ti (and who haven’t yet developed their feeling functions to some degree) seem less organic, more calculated for lack of a better word in general than ISTPs.

Could this essential mathematical soundness quality of Ti that you mention be related to Ti specifically as an id function as opposed to dominant or otherwise?


I think @prax is right about mathematical Ti because that exists in a lot of the music I love.

Like for example

(May your ears forgive me—try to make it a full minute or so to see how the song changes over time mathematically—the genre is literally math rock actually haha)

One of my most favorite songs ever, and another intp one by my vote (16 Minutes long)