Which of your Senses is the most heightened?

In Human Design, we are each calibrated to a specific sensory sensitivity. This heightened sense is an evolved way that our unique body gathers information and nourishes itself. We can have one of six sensory sensitivities: Smell, Taste, Inner Vision, Outer Vision, Feeling and Touch.


In our Human Design bodygraph this is called our Cognition. Whatever your Cognition is out of the six sensory sensitivities, is the unique way you acquire additional knowledge, information and understanding.

For example, a Smell Cognition is someone with a sensory sensitivity to smell. Yes, we could say their body gathers more information from scents and choosing fragrances with care has a nourishing aspect for these people, but it’s deeper than this surface observation. Smell Cognitions need to sniff things out to get to the bottom of something. They can smell when something seems off. They have an inquisitive keenness to them that is key to the way they understand their surroundings.

How do I find my Cognition?
The easiest way to learn your Cognition is to visit
geneticmatrix.com and calculate your free body graph. Along with a visual representation of your bodygraph there will be a summary of your Body and Mind. Under your Body category your specific Cognition will be listed.

Human Design Cognitions

Cognition: Smell
People with a Smell Sensitivity always seem to know when something isn’t right. They can sniff out a liar or when something doesn’t add up. My partner has a Smell Cognition, and his favourite books are murder mysteries, and even the show How to Get Away With Murder. I always tease him about his interest in these scary things, but I also understand how it supports his cognition. Maybe it’s crime shows, Netflix drug lord specials, or following along with the latest head scratching news story. Smell Cognition loves to sniff out the details or the clues, and this gives them a sharpness that others don’t possess. Even though they can choose their fragrances and scents with care (maybe they always love to smell good!), nourishing the curiosity and inquisitiveness within them is a great way to keep their sense sharp.

Cognition: Taste
Taste Sensitivity might have a picky palette, but really they need to taste different experiences in order to uncover what works for them. They need to get a taste for something to determine if they like it, and sometimes that can mean cooking potatoes 12 different ways; mashed, twice baked, fries, scalloped, etc. But it’s deeper than food. This can be life experience as well. In order to really understand something and get a taste for it, they need to experience it multiple times and often in multiple ways. They are also designed to try new things, tasting new experiences here and there to keep them sharp. I find these people are also sensitive to the texture of something — food textures in their mouths, and the texture and details of their surroundings and interests. For example these people could like the taste of a food but hate the texture of it in their mouths (like mushrooms for example).

Cognition: Inner Vision
Inner Vision People don’t always process information as it’s happening. They are very “in the moment” people. Their bodies are taking a snapshot of the experience — a carbon copy — so they can process it later. It’s like they’re too busy being in the moment to integrate the wisdom they’re receiving from their experiences. When I say these people are in the moment, they’re present, but they need to make time and space to process their experiences after they happen. Oftentimes, that looks like alone time for some inner contemplation. Maybe that’s puttering around their room and thinking, or relaxing on the porch after a long day while they mentally review what happened. I find Inner Vision Sensitivity does really well with mindfulness and a ritualistic meditation practice to help them process information and integrate it into the body. These bodies learn by processing information later.

Cognition: Outer Vision
Outer Vision People are always concerned with what they see — but it’s deeper than what is visually right in front them. What do they see for themselves? Where do they want to go? What’s their direction in life? Do they have a clear vision? In order to nourish this part of themselves it’s helpful to have physical visuals around them that help them envision the places they want to go. While this can be a vacation, it’s also a life direction. These are people I find who really benefit from mood boards or vision boards, but also friendships that support the authentic direction they want to move in life. They benefit from having books in their bookshelf that support their outer vision and learning potential. These people really have a vision for themselves (or the world), and it’s helpful to create time to ponder this. Meditation is also very helpful for this sensory sensitivity.

Cognition: Feeling
I find the Feeling Cognition rather complex, but these people will tell you they experience powerful feelings within and they may even outwardly express powerful feelings too. Maybe a crier? A partier? These people experience sensations within that are often hard to put words to, but those sensations definitely guide them. Funny feelings are usually clues for them — something doesn’t feel right. It’s like they get a little tingle in their body that is hard to ignore. A sense. A hunch. I like to encourage this sensory sensitivity to let their feelings out to guide them! Choose the music or movies that make you weep so you can stay keen on your feelings. Weeping does’t need to mean sad; these people can weep when they feel joy, too. And that’s healthy for them to let their feelings out! It’s also great to laugh hard, love hard, and acknowledge their feelings as they’re happening.

Cognition: Touch
I love this one. Touch is such a complex word. We can touch things with our hands and we can be touched by kind words or gestures. I find those with a sensitivity to Touch do well in finding activities that allow them to use their hands. This helps them get in touch with themselves. I love to use my Touch Sensitive mother as an example; when I was young she was a hairstylist, touching hair and scissors all day. Her whole life and into maturity, we was a knitter, weaving her hands intricately to create epic creations. She has also always suffered from severe arthritis — a physical manifestation of sensitive hands always touching things. Using our hands can be through sports, hobbies, or physically touching others, but the body with a Touch Sensitivity gathers a lot of information when they use their hands. Using your hands helps you get in touch with yourself and simultaneously gives you the ability to touch others emotionally, mentally or spiritually.


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Human DesignVaness Henry