The Background of Structure/Function

The following is an extract from an article written by Daniel Whiteside (the son of Robert Whiteside) and an introduction to the origin of Human Trait Recognition


The study of innate behavioural response, based on cell proportions determined by the genetic contribution of your parents to your structure. The key word here is genetic. Our outer physical proportions of face, skull and general skeletal structure give clear indication of inner brain and neurological cell proportion. In other words, what we see on the outside tells us what’s on the inside.

The key CONCEPT here is comparative cell proportion – especially in the brain. If you have more cells devoted to a specific function in one area of the brain than another, you can expect that function to predominate in a person’s expression. For example, if the person has more brain cells in the brain’s ACTION-BASED-ON­FEELING AREA (parietal lobe), you can successfully EXPECT that person’s behaviour to be more active than thoughtful as a general rule. On the other hand, if there are more cells in the brain’s CONSCIOUS ASSOCIATIONAL THINKING AREA (frontal lobes), you can successfully expect that person to be more involved with thinking than action. It’s as simple as that. The principle: comparative cell proportion.


No, it’s incredibly easy. What you see is what you get! Of course it takes some time to become familiar with OBSERVING the unfamiliar. Few of us have ever thought along these lines, much less practiced observing. But once you know the functional areas of the brain, it becomes second-nature almost immediately. Besides, most of the “trait Factors” (comparative cell proportions) we deal with are outer FACIAL proportions which indicate INNER brain proportion. The relative size of the iris, for instance – which indicates how much light reaches the brain from the outer world. Or the relative size of the lips – which indicates two things you’ll discover in your training

The only “difficulty” with Structure/Function is its UNFAMILIARITY.

In the Western World, we grow up with so many taboos about the physical body that we’ve tuned out SEEING other people’s physical structures ACCURATELY. It’s a matter of Judeo-Christian social and religious prejudice. However, prior to the 4th Century AD when the Council of Nicaea formalized Christian tenets, observing.

human structure with an eye to understanding human behaviour was absolutely accepted. From Egypt to Greece and Rome and in the Orient, “physiognomy” was the “psychology” of the Golden Age. Some form of Structure/Function awareness has been around since the first books were written In every classic language.


Oh sure! Classic literature is based on Structure/Function. You can see its principles operating In Cro-Magnon cave paintings, and in the Aryan sculptures of Mohenjo-Daro (classic India). In Egypt, Pharaoh Ikhnaton’s HYMN TO THE SUN, the papyruses of Duan, son of Khertu, are specific reference points.

From Greece: Hippocrates (the father of Western Medicine) used these principles as the bail& for diagnosis, as well as understanding the emotional cause of a patient’s condition. Pythagoras (the father of Western philosophy) taught the same principles as well. Aristotle’s PHYSIOGNOMONICA and Plato’s THE REPUBLIC are the most famous (and extended) examples of the Greek approach to the Structure/Function concept Later, another famous Greek physician, Galen, expounded on it further. However, the best for-instance, is the masks used in Greek Drama and Comedy. They were carved to represent specific cell proportions which, to their audience, out-pictured the basic character traits of the personas in these famous plays

Roman psychology was based absolutely on the principles of Structure/Function. Quintillian’s works spell it out to a “T.” And there’s a great deal written to REFUTE It by the early Christian Fathers – see St. Augustine, Porphyries and others. (Such refutations were all on the basis that “only God can know us as we are” and that it’s “sacrilege for man to try to know himself”)

Since they saw classic learning in general (and the Structure/Function approach in specific) as the epitome of paganistic freedom of personal expression, the early “Christian” Fathers did their best to absolutely destroy ALL classic literature, but much of it survived in the Arabic and Jewish cultures. The Saracen Arabs and the Hebrew philosophers retained this classic knowledge.

You can read about the basis of Structure/Function in the Hebrew CABALA’s book of MOHAIR (which Is literally Aristotle’s PHYSIOGNOMONICA) as well as in the writings of Maimonides and those of almost every famous Arabian philosopher during Medieval times.

When the Crusades took Europe to the Middle East, the returning crusaders brought back classic learning to the European sphere and, during the Renaissance, Europe’s “great minds” took fire with the idea that “man can know himself from his physical structure.” Even Church Fathers caught the bug.

Albertus Magnus, the leading light of medieval thinking and his disciple St. Thomas Aquinas espoused the knowledge. Albertus himself sketched a map of the brain’s functioning areas that is so accurate that it has never been surpassed, except in detail.

Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are full of this knowledge, so are the writings of Michelangelo, Pico della Mirandola, Machiavelli and, later, Sir Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Sir Walter Raleigh, Montaigne and Descartes, as well as hundreds of others. Yet even with such an inestimable array of adherents, a practitioner of “physiognomy” (the current, if erroneous, name for such knowledge) was still in danger of being burned at the stake for witchcraft by the “Christian” church. (As were astrologists, natural healers, herbalists, etc.)


 Certainly not by the psychological or medical establishment that exists right now – although their own research is drawing them closer to realizing its truth for themselves.

Good Heavens, can you imagine how a psychologist or psychiatrist would FEEL, knowing that “just anyone” – and just by LOOKING – could, in 30 seconds, know more about another person than a professional could discern in 30 hours of questions and answers!


This answer will be a bit involved, but here it comes. In 1800 Dr. Franz Joseph Gall published the first actual brain research, that people’s interest was once more turned to the significance of cell proportion as it indicated INSTINCTIVE human behavioural trends. (Until then, Western “scientists” examined the brain by slicing it like cheese!)

Gall is still given credit as the “father of brain research” by the medical/anatomical establishment.

However the SYSTEM of understanding human behaviour based on his findings, PHRENOLOGY, never sat well with the scientific authorities of his day. Gall, by the way, did not create PHRENOLOGY, in fact he very much objected to this popularization of his research. Even so, it swept the world with its hopeful message that if you understand how your brain ‘makes’ you function, you can “CHOOSE the kind of behaviour that you truly want to manifest.”

In the 19th Century, Phrenology WAS psychology and it became so vastly popular that one American book on the subject (by the Foxier Brothers) sold more copies than the Bible all over the world! For one thing, it fostered the equality of men and women – after all, it’s the same cell tissue be the brain male or female.

Now women began to claim their own equal rights, which eventually led to Woman’s Suffrage. Clara Barton, who created the Red Cross, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Fry, who led the way in reform of mad-houses and prisons – these and many other women came forward to inspire, change and improve society at this time. All were Phrenologists in belief.

Phrenology served as an inspiration for the work of Sir Thomas Huxley, Darwin, Sir Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain (etc.) because now the “mystery” of behaviour had an explanation in actual human structure.


Exactly 100 years after Gall’s first publication, Sigmund Freud’s INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS came out. Prior to that, there was no psychological profession. Everyone was her/his own psychologist.

Freud set out to create a profession and that’s exactly what he achieved. In doing so, he also created an establishment of thought based exclusively on the analysis of emotional MOTIVES – hidden, obscure “stuff’ which could be sorted out only by a trained professional.

Did you know that Freud’s basis for his observations was Mesmerism (hypnotism)? From then on, Phrenology began to take a back-seat to psychology. No longer was “looking at the obvious” enough. The priority now went to discernment of “the hidden.”

Once the medical establishment took up Freudian psychology, Phrenology’s days were numbered. As Psychology’s power increased, Phrenology’s credibility decreased – although its principles and its accuracy have never been disproved.

Also, the Metaphysical Movement had arisen. Hand in hand with Socialism, Theosophy and Spiritualism now swept the globe. Séances and social upheaval are pretty fascinating stuff – far more fascinating than acceptance of personal responsibility for positive change.

So, with the focus on international events and psychic phenomena, interest in the individual took a tumble. Except in the movies!

Yes, you’ll see Structure/Function emerge as total REALITY in FILMS. Where do you think type-casting comes from, if not a universal (if subconscious) awareness of these principles? “If you don’t look like the character has to look we can’t cast you in that role.” Interesting … And, you do realize, don’t you, that Hollywood has had a greater influence on our Belief Systems than any other single event or series of events in history?

Well, the bottom-line is that Phrenology was discredited by the medical establish­ment, although it was never DISPROVED. (As I said above, Gall is still given credit as the “father of brain research.”) Psychology merely pre-empted its popularity, through radio, magazines and, of course, the movies.


No, it definitely is NOT. Along with the above-mentioned events, intensive brain research was going on in the first half of this century. Gall’s “stuff” was being validated and expanded upon. The “science” of genetics came on the scene. More and more information was now available that linked genetics to cell proportion and cell proportion to function and behaviour.

Of course the focus of such studies did NOT focus on human beings – no doubt, because of the continued “religious” denial that we humans are here to understand ourselves as spiritual, not physical, beings. From green peas to race-horses, from pigs to petunias, genetic research made it clear that desired functions (cell proportions) could be fostered through a series of generations to improve any living species. (Think about that one!)

The principles presented by the science of Genetics, however, were NOT applied to the human being – probably because of the still-dominant religionist point of view that “only God can know us as we are.”

Even to this day, mankind is pretty well exempted from Genetic studies, although steps are being taken in this direction, of course. Still by the late 1930s, much of this new research was in print and available to the public.

In 1938’s Los Angeles, Dr. Edward Vincent Jones put together a composite of the (then) most recent available brain and genetic research with the PRINCIPLES of Phrenology and classic Physiognomy (the study of face and body-type). He also included a good deal of highly discerning personal observation. He called his creation: PERSONOLOGY.

Somewhat surprisingly, in the middle of the Freudian “Age of Analysis,” Personology became an instant “hit.” Jones’ work was written up in almost every major national publication. He was authorized to do further research with White Memorial Hospital (now Los Angeles’ giant USC County Hospital) and in San Quentin Prison. Since the accuracy of Personology’s observations proved irrefutable, even the psychological establishment pricked up its ears. A major movement toward personal responsibility was beginning (again!).

Jones had a number of ardent disciples – among the most ardent of which were Robert and Elizabeth Whiteside. In 1941 Jones made a tour of California talking about Personology. Robert and Elizabeth heard him and from that moment on determined to devote their life to this unconventional approach to understanding human behaviour at first glance.


Of course there is, and lots of it – from statistical validation to practical application. However, that’s beside the point. The truth is that we’ve all been judging each other’s possible behaviour at first glance forever. Yes, we all do it – to some degree – right now, with no further education necessary. You meet a person, you get a feeling from that person’s body language, tone of voice, but mostly from the feelings prompted by that person’s facial features.

Yes, we judge people’s ‘likely behaviour” in terms of who they remind us of, and how THAT person behaved. Based on your previous experience with people who “look like that,’ we form our first impressions.

And it’s surprising how accurate these first impressions are a good deal of the time. However, when you KNOW what you’re seeing (and what that means in terms of genetically determined behaviour), well – your accuracy improves about 1000%.

By the start of World War II, Personology had become a force to be reckoned with, everyone was talking about it, thinking about it, writing about it.


The Second World War happened. For six years, the war was the big news and the only news anyone wanted to hear about. During those six years, a whole shift in consciousness took place all over the planet. Just as important: Women entered the work-place – an event of far more significant than most people realized at the time. Also, psychology had begun to move away from purely Freudian analysis into Watson’s stimulus-response “Behaviourism.”

Behaviourism put the emphasis on environmental conditioning, rather than Freud’s more mysterious and mystical motivations. Watson said, in effect, “You are what environment has made you. It’s a matter of conditioning,” Psychiatry’s focus also took a different turn. It went from people who could afford to invest enormous amounts of time and money to the “shell-shocked” veterans returning from the war, and others whose minds were impaired as a direct result of combat-oriented stress. (Also from this period, psychiatry’s emphasis on mind-altering drug therapy developed into its primary focus.)

More than that, war wounds provided medical researchers with first-hand observa­tions of brain function. Now real knowledge of the functioning areas of the cerebrum was available. Neuro-surgery became a scientific reality. Genetics took a place of pre-eminence. More than all this, however, TELEVISION educated people to a global perspective on life-CHOICES that was not available before – no matter how dreary and dull most programming may be.

World War II ended Victorian Age thinking all over the planet. Personology had suddenly become yesterday’s news. But Robert and Elizabeth Whiteside knew a greater truth than public opinion. They set out to bring Jones’ Victorian (and highly judgmental) values into alignment with philosophical reality and the 1950’s emphasis on scientific method.

Robert decided to validate the Personological model through accepted statistical procedures. He returned to college (UC Berkeley) to graduate magna cum laude in the study of statistics.


You bet it is – to the 1% level, which means that what we say about the traits is accurate at least 99% of the time. Or to put it another way, the results could NOT happen by CHANCE once out of one hundred times.


Between 1950 and 1955, Robert and Elizabeth (together with their staff) worked with a random sample of 1060 Northern Californian adults. Here’s what they did.

Prior to actually making the physical observations of the traits or talking about, them with the person, they handed that person a lengthy form which listed each of the 100 or so trait factors by DEFINITION only. The person then rated Self on a scale from 0 to 100 based on the definition given.

In addition, a close associate (usually a wife, husband, father or mother) rated the person on the exact same form and in exactly the same way. More: someone who knew the person only slightly did exactly the same thing on exactly the same form. THEN the personologist made the physical observations of trait function and discussed each with the testee. And the results (again) proved accurate to the 1% level – they couldn’t have happened by chance one out of one hundred times. That’s pretty impressive, eh?

Robert wasn’t content, however, and did a follow-up program on each testee, a follow-up program that lasted as long as seven years. This was to get feedback on the VALUE of the information received, and the continued VALIDITY of the results with each person tested. Again, the returns were phenomenal and without exception positive – especially In the area of vocational selection.

Based on these statistics, the Whitesides – together with their son Daniel and other dedicated personologists – founded the interstate College of Personology with headquarters in San Francisco, California. With this sound foundation, Personology once more began to spread. By 1960, centres had been established in twelve states.


Daniel and his close friend (and fellow personologist) John Wesley Grossman were not content with the statistical validation based on definition/recognition. They wanted to establish a clear connection between the physical structures being observed and the behavioural patterns they produced. This prompted another intensive period of research and study – three years worth, to be exact – in which the three Whitesides, Grossman and others spent at least six hours a day investigating” current literature on anatomy, physiology, neurology, endocrinolo­gy, brain research per se, pathology, genetics and anthropology.

The result: a clear structure/function connection became obvious in all the major trait factors. There was an obvious relationship between comparative cell proportion and specific human behaviours in over 60 traits. This is where the term “Structure/Function” came into being. And from the moment the College published the results of this research, Personology spread by leaps and bounds. By 1963, centres flourished nation-wide. Personology’s statistically validated pragmatic approach had produced Structure/Function – a clear out-picturing of WHY comparative cell proportions effect human behaviour. (At that time the terms “Personology” and “Structure/Function” were interchangeable.)


Gordon first heard of Structure/Function in his (then) home-town of Sacramento. He took his basic training there, then went to San Francisco to do advanced training with the three Whitesides. He was the brightest light among the last Consultant Training in which Daniel participated. They became fast friends and associates right then and there.

From 1963 on, he and Daniel have been in a partnership of one form or another, always with Structure/Function featured prominently in their work. Why? Because IT works -better, more effectively, and more productively than any other approach they know to understand human behaviour.

Together they’ve spent their lives to date using the Structure/Function knowledge to assist people to find CHOICE where they didn’t know they had one – to create the kind of behaviour which assists people to attain their desired goals easily and with compassion for the other folk involved.

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Alan Stevens