Are there any other ways to understand the differences between BT and what others often label "typologies", especially Jung/Myers?
The Brain Typing system is far different than any other assessment methodology we’ve ever encountered. Of course, there are two sides to this issue as there are to all issues. (And by the way, if someone wants to be argumentative, one could debate any issue under the sun—regardless of position—and speak some truth into the argument.) One side of the coin is how BT resembles many typological approaches, especially Jung-Myers. We couldn’t agree more. If it weren’t for Jung, Briggs, Myers and other disciples of this form of typology, BT would not exist. The 8 letters we have shared with the public prior to 2003 are the same that scores of variations within Jungian typology employ. (We also have other terminology for a deeper and more scientific understanding of BT--some of which we have recently made public.) We, like all others who support the 8 mental preferences, owe complete gratitude to Carl Jung for 6 of them, and 2 to Myers and Briggs—neither of whom were psychologists). These three people and many thereafter, have provided a rich understanding of what the preferences mean as well as how each of the 16 Jung/Myers types generally operate.
Before moving to the other side of the coin, let’s take a slight diversion and consider Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers, mother and daughter. Speaking of Katherine Briggs in Isabel Myers’ book “Gifts Differing” (p. x):
“Katherine, a thinker, a reader, a quiet observer became intrigued with similarities and differences in human personality about the time of World War I. She began to develop her typology, largely through the study of biography, and she then discovered that Jung had evolved a similar system which she quickly accepted and began to explore and elaborate.”
It goes on to speak of daughter Isabel:
“With no formal training in psychology or statistics, with no academic sponsorship or research grants, Myers began the painstaking task of developing an item pool that would tap the attitudes, feelings, perceptions, and behaviors of the different psychological types as she and her mother had come to understand them.”
JN can strongly relate to the experiences of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers.
Renowned temperament and personality type expert—and clinical psychologist, David Keirsey, Ph.D, writes in his best-selling book “Please Understand Me” (p. 15):
(some 5 years out of graduate school)
“And along comes a little old lady from Princeton New Jersey, Isabel Myers, to tell me about myself, about who I was and what I was good for. Oh, I already knew some of that stuff about myself, but I didn’t know that I was a kind or type of person, and that therefore there had to be others just like me.”
Briggs and Myers have passed along numerous examples and benefits to us all.
Back to the other side of the coin, there are numerous dissimilarities (in Brain Typing) to the understanding that millions of Jung-Myers advocates have on typology. Each of the 8 preferences we have attempted to take out of the ethereal realm of the mind and provide a basic cerebral understanding (cognitively, physically, and spatially). In this respect, BT’s definitions go further into each of the 8 preferences than any Jung-Myers supporters of which we are aware. For instance, rather than saying Judging (J) seeks closure, order, structure and so on, and Perceiving (P) is open-ended, adaptable, and non-judgmental, we try to help people see that “J” essentially describes the left brain and “P” correlates with the right hemisphere. (Actually lesser degrees of J and P are within both hemispheres but that is a more cavernous discussion and not relevant to this explanation.) So if Jung-Myers’ devotees can understand the basic right and left brain processes, they, too, can better comprehend why the aforementioned definitions of J and P make sense—even scientifically. Better yet, however, is that they can acquire a much deeper understanding of J and P by seeing how much more comprehensive they are from a cerebral perspective—far more than they ever imagined.
From an athletic standpoint, right-brained P’s have much better [natural] spatial acuity—3 dimensional vision and peripheral awareness (especially when experiencing pressure in competition). For example, after having assessed (or Brain Typed) one of the top picks in a forthcoming draft a few years ago, JN was told by the team’s GM that the athlete scored in the top few of all time with a high-tech vision test (administered by an renowned eye specialist and professional)! The exam was especially designed to evaluate athletes requiring optimal vision. This covered all facets of sight, especially peripheral and stereoscopic vision. This highly regarded athlete was found to have “superior peripheral vision.” Also, His report read “He can physically adapt himself to visual changes as quickly and as well as anyone tested.” “His vision-motor performance was high in critical areas for a (his playing position.)” Understandably (for those who don’t comprehend BT), JN was told that if there was anything the team DIDN’T need to concern themselves with it was the young man’s visual giftedness—straight ahead and sideways.
Knowing, however, the athlete’s specific Brain Type (which JN told the team but not the public) and that he was inherently heavily left-brained, JN told the team that the athlete would function poorly with the spatial awareness necessary for this man’s playing position. With all due respect, JN told them he didn’t care how well the young man “tested” in every area of vision; his inborn BT would never allow him to perform as they expected—physically and spatially. It would be equivalent to putting a 150-pound lineman in the NFL and expecting him to play all season against 300 lb. (and over) brutes. He just wouldn’t hold up over time and especially when the 300 pounders were mad and wanted to win—like in the playoffs. And by the way, the athlete under consideration—JN has never found his BT at point guard in the NBA.
Well, sure enough, the young man with professionally-tested and supposed superior visual acuity was drafted—very high. The team paid a boat load of money for him, and guess what happened? Not only did he fail miserably at his position but he failed primarily because he couldn’t see the field or court before him! His peripheral vision was dreadful—especially under pressure. As he tried to direct his team, he became known as a gifted athlete yet one that resembled a “deer in headlights.” He repeatedly passed the ball into heavy defensive coverage. He couldn’t see the whole field/court of play. As far as BTI knows, only Brain Typing can point out this kind of limitation BEFORE it occurs—especially in pro ball. Yet, this gifted athlete was a STAR in college. Did his vision go bad all of a sudden? No, the pro game is much quicker and sophisticated than college ball and some problems do not manifest themselves until the highest levels of competition—all the more reason for knowing and applying Brain Typing (especially if you own or coach the team).
JN’s book, “Your Key to Sports Success” goes to great length in explaining the much deeper aspects of Brain Typing as compared to Jung-Myers typology; 400 pages clearly demonstrate Brain Typing’s uniqueness and scientific emphasis.
Why call it Brain Types® rather than personality or psychological types?
Many typology advocates have loosely used the terms “personality or psychological types” to describe the 16 different kinds of people. JN is very uncomfortable with these expressions. When he first became exposed to the Jung-Myers theories, as a young disciple he tried to help others understand and identify the 16 “personality” or “psychological” types. Inevitably, many became confused when two persons JN was comparing (identified by type “experts” at the time) fell within the same Jung-Myers type—yet they appeared to have very differing personalities.
Jung coined “function types” and “psychological types,” being quite precise in his label*s. He knew he had identified commonly shared yet distinguishable behavioral characteristics in the thousands of people he had studied. His era did not possess 21st century neuroscientif*ic and genetic evidence; therefore, he had to rely on older ideas of psychology (the study of the mind), and his empirical observations of people (as does JN empirically observe others, yet with an emphasis on modern-day scientific understanding). Thus, “psychological types" was a most appropriate label for Jung. Before long, however, people started using personality types to describe Jung’s classifications, rendering a vernacular more relevant to the layperson, removing it from the mysterious and often abstract world of psychological theories.
“Personality” to the layperson conveys the sum total of the mental, emo*tion*al, and social characteristics of an individual. The term “personality,” however, originates from the Latin “persona.” It corresponds to the Greek word for face. Actors in an*cient Greece could perform more than one role on stage by donning differ*ent personas or masks. But type behav*ior is not dictated primarily by the faces we randomly choose to wear. Instead, BTI and others (including neuroscientists and geneticists) believe it is driven by the orderly and systematic func*tion of the brain, which controls not only our mental skills, but motor skills, as well. Jonathan Niednagel therefore coined and much prefers the term Brain Types to both “personality” and “psychological” types. He wants others to think of Brain Typing as describing the internal workings of the brain, an objective and tangible schematic allowing us to understand the neural regions/circuits that regulate our cerebral/mental/emotional and body actions. JN wants you to focus more on “why” you (or others) do what you do—from inborn neuroscientific and genetic perspectives. This doesn’t mean you need to know scientific intricacies but by just comprehending the raw basics, you’ll have a much greater understanding, appreciation, and tolerance for why folks (including yourself) do what they do. If cognitive traits have a significant and inborn biological basis, they are much easier to accept as “normal.”
What greatly frustrated JN regarding “personality” or “psychological” types following his first serious exposure to them in the 1970s was their strong link to the abstract and ethereal “mind”. Having a “concrete” and “tangible” mindset, JN was compelled to take this conceptual typology and give it flesh—establishing a biological basis if possible. To convince himself and others, he knew it had to be measured tangibly and accurately. After studying this area intensively, JN believed there was a strong association to the brain and body. In addition, since he wasn’t a psychologist nor did he want to be connected in any way to psychology (even for personal spiritual reasons), JN attempted to distance himself as far as possible. He went through the time-consuming and costly process of Trademarking ® Brain Types and began publishing his findings regarding the brain and body. Much of JN’s findings have not been published, especially as they relate to genetics. Since there are those who have attempted to steal as well as undermine JN’s work, he is saving his proprietary information until completing his genetic studies—where he hopes and intends to establish patents on each Brain Type. For most this seems improbable, but for JN it seems a near reality.
So in contrast with the Jung-Myers model of personality theory, BTI believes Brain Typing is able to:
1/ identify the 16 different designs with greater accuracy (explained cerebrally, biologically, and physically),
2/ demonstrate through empirical studies (and hopefully soon, genetics) they are inborn, indelible traits,
3/ show the differences within each of the cerebral-mental processes and how they vary in function depending upon the brain hemisphere in which they reside,
4/ empirically (including video digitization) measure the inborn motor skill proficiencies and deficiencies for each Type,
5/ explain and demonstrate logically the reasons for variations within each Type, both cerebrally and physically.
Though there are more contrasts than these 5 areas between the 2 methodologies, this should suffice for now. The distinctions between the 2 approaches are quite significant, to say the least.