Brain Typing

by Paige Whitley

Brain typing is a way to classify and group everyone into 16 categories of different skills, mental and physical, to predict athletic ability. 1. This was created by Jonathan P. Niednagle (JN) and he claims that brain typing is 100% accurate and that neuroscientific research will support it. 2. Within these 16 categories, there is a brain type that fits the individual and can help them to narrow down, even very young, what to do in life and how to get there. Brain typing is targeted at athletes to predict ability and claims to even be able to tell someone who their ability resembles. JN argues that he can do this just by observing the person and assigning their traits. 2. Brain typing is not in itself very popular but since it makes claims to be better than the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the most widely used psychological test, some people are very into it. 3. This idea sounds very intriguing, but although JN says neuroscience can support him, there has been no evidence to back him up.

JN has asserted that neuroscientific evidence could support brain typing, before anyone even did research for brain typing. He said brain typing worked by observing the person’s actions – not looking at their brain in any way which is very contradicting. JN has claimed to have done 30 years’ worth of research at an institute and there is still no scientific evidence to support brain typing. 2. Since brain typing has a lot to do with athletes, they are the ones most prone to believe in it. The LA Times even compiled a list of the best brain types for each sport and the rarest brain types for each sport. Including quarterbacks like Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Brett Favre all share the same brain type and encourage young athletes to get this done to see if they are similar to the greats. 4. In summary, JN is convincing people to be for brain typing because well, he can. But, with a lack of scientific evidence most people are skeptical.

This whole extraordinary belief is wrapped around the idea of conformation bias. If someone believes they are the best point guard on their high school basketball team or the best wide receiver on their football team, they will take the measures to get their brain type and compare themselves to the greats. It could even have a slight placebo effect, cognitively knowing you’re similar to Peyton Manning or similar to LeBron James, it could affect your game. And vice versa, if you are similar to someone who isn’t good, you may play worse.

This pseudoscientific belief is supported through testimonials. 3. These would all come from a community of (hopefully) successful athletes. Due to the observational aspect, professional athletes don’t have to seek out someone to be brain typed therefore someone, like JN, can do it behind the scenes and reach out to younger athletes and advertise this to them. Even though, they are already good players, they will be encouraged to attribute their success to their brain type and then make testimonials about how brain typing is 100% accurate.

In conclusion, brain typing doesn’t have any empirical evidence to support it and only has holds in the athletic community because of the claims to professional athlete’s brain types. It also has support through young, possibly cocky athletes seeking out confirmation bias and may even have a slight placebo effect with performance. JN believes he can assign brain types to people without ever looking at their brain. Brain typing isn’t harmful to anyone, but it is not accurate information.


12 thoughts on “Brain Typing

  1. This was interesting and something I had not heard of. The placebo effect can be so strong and truly cause changes in things. Also, the fact that famous athletes believe in it will really keep this belief around for a while. Too bad there is not any true evidence of it being real, how cool would that be.

    • I agree! If there were evidence, it would be such a cool thing! It would be kind of sad if you found out if you/your kid was a really bad player but other than that, it would be so fascinating to find all the LeBron Jame’s of the world!

  2. This was something I had never heard of but I find quite interesting. Each individual is so unique and different from others that it is hard for me to imagine something like this working. I don’t personally believe there are only 16 different ways that you can categorize a person based on their brain. I also believe that a person is not concrete in this way. We are fluid in the way we think and act and it gradually changes over the course of one’s life.

    • I know! I was in astonishment when I was reading about this all! How does someone try to categorize EVERYONE into only 16 categories? Plus, being able to do this when someone is young doesn’t really make sense because the brain is changing until about 25 years old, and like you said, we are very fluid in general.

  3. I don’t really like these types of personality or brain type tests. It reminds of those personality tests with only a select amount of paths. Brain typing just makes it even more category grouping with someone’s entire way of thinking from just some test? I also agree a lot of the positive benefits of this methodology is to just boost confidence.

    • I always thought it was so weird that a single test could tell you exactly what you should be doing in your life. It just seemed like a way to get people to figure out what they wanna do when they are super young instead of finding out what they are passionate about. This is just the same as the personality test, it just tells kids what they should be spending their life doing, and you are correct even boosting some egos while they are at it.

  4. This topic is very interesting, i have heard of predictions based on genetics but not on brain type. This is a fascinating topic, and you covered it really well, there could be some truth to this theory, since there is still so much we do not know about the human brain, But it would need a lot more evidence and data then what JN is basing his theory on .

    • It would so cool if there was even a little bit of evidence to this! Even if it was true and there was science to back it up, I don’t think there would only be 16 categories – there are so many people in the world how could everyone fit into 16 categories? It’s amazing how little we know about the brain, so maybe there isn’t even 16 categories, there could be less?!

  5. I believe that the people use ”confirmation bias” when assessing things they find interesting. They believe what they choose to believe. If 1 of 10 of prediction works, people will buy it. The other 9 fail situations will be ignorant. It is pretty rediculous that how people, regardless of their social class or education, it is a prevalent problem when people assess extraordinary beliefs.

    • Right?! Even presented with so much information that denies what they believe, they still do! I feel like even if people ran their own studies and research on the extraordinary beliefs that they believe in (hopefully without fabricating the data) and proved themselves wrong, they would still choose to believe. I am sure believing in extraordinary beliefs is a coping mechanism and provides comfort to some people and that is why they believe but it’s still so shocking!

  6. this belief is so interesting to read about. It’s a bit sad in a way for those athletes that are brain typed to be good because it is saying that they are only good because of their biology, not because they worked hard to get there. An oppositely for those who aren’t so good at their sport might accredit it to their brain makeup an believe that there is no hope for them, so they give up. It’s also interesting to me that there are so many categories to fit people into and I wonder how similar they all are or not.

  7. I found it interesting that JN had concluded that brain typing was accurate before any experiments were even done for it and that he claims it’s 100% accurate despite the fact that there is no supporting evidence for it. It seems extremely overconfident on his part which can cause some negative impacts for some people if they really believe in it. Since there is no telling if this is even correct or not, the athletes that score low can really believe that they are not good even if they are and not pursue of future in the sport that they play which is sad because they could never realize their full potential. Also, those athletes that score high could slack off on practicing because they believe that they are biologically destined to be good at sports.

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