Your brain is one of a kind.
I've tried personality tests. A lot of them. They spit out results seemingly applicable to any human with a heartbeat. The era of generic cookie-cutter recommendations is coming to an end.
If you're interested in nootropics, smart drugs, or general brain health, look no further.The free online Braverman assessment gives biohackers valuable insight into their unique brains. Click To Tweet
What makes the Braverman personality type assessment special?
You answer a detailed behavioral questionnaire that returns a fairly accurate snapshot of your brain's chemical makeup (called neurotransmitters). From there you can optimize your diet, lifestyle, and supplementation. The Braverman test isn't perfect, but it presents you with a good starting point.
Neurotransmitters Explained in Simple Terms
Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that convey signals determining how we feel, think, and function. The primary four neurotransmitters are:
Scientists divide neurotransmitters into two classes: stimulating or sedating. Serotonin and GABA sedate, while acetylcholine, and dopamine stimulate.
Everyone has their own unique balance of neurotransmitters, and levels of each fluctuate throughout the day.
What is The Braverman Test?
The Braverman Test is a personality test designed by a leading neurotransmitter scientist named Eric Braverman. This test classifies your brain chemistry through a series of behavioral questions. Unlike most other personality assessments, the Braverman test generates recommendations based upon an approximation of your brain chemistry. And it is more accurate and personalized than others.
Your results not only show your strengths, but deficiencies too. Correcting deficiencies can profoundly alter your brain chemistry for the better. Some people notice symptoms disappear and that their quality of life improves.
I discovered the Braverman Test through one of my favorite biohackers, Charles Poliquin. On the Tim Ferriss Show, in 2016, he explained how he uses the Braverman questionnaire to tailor his athletes' training. Naturally, I gave it a go. I liked what I found.
The Braverman test is split into two sections:
- Dominant neurotransmitters (strengths)
- Deficient neurotransmitters (weaknesses)
In each section, you answer questions related to the specific neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and acetylcholine.
You might already have a sense of your dominant personality qualities. Or maybe not.
I like confirming the results. There's a narrow window of optimal neurotransmitter levels.
Higher neurotransmitters levels aren't better.
You can use this to tailor your supplementation regimen. For people high in dopamine, that nootropic that boosts it further can lead to excessive risk-taking behaviors and impulsive actions. Braverman explains the downsides of excess.
Braverman neurotransmitter deficiencies are the equivalent of personality “weaknesses”.
The tool calculates your results and interprets your neurotransmitter deficiencies. Deficiencies fall into four separate categories:
- Physical issues
- Personality issues
- Memory issues
- Attention issues
Eric also gives specific supplement and dosage recommendations tailored to your results. Do your own research though. I've heard very mixed results on the recommended dosages. Generally, begin with in the low-range, and slowly work up.
Disclaimer: always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement.
One of the more interesting applications of the assessment is its application to athletics.
You might wonder about the link between neurotransmitters and sports.
I know I did. Charles cleared it up on the Tim Ferriss show. Why listen to Charles?
In the sports world, he's a big deal:
“[Charles] has trained elite athletes from nearly 20 different sports, including Olympic gold medalists, NFL All-Pro’s, NHL All-Stars and Stanley Cup champions, and IFBB bodybuilding champions”Tim Ferriss
Charles introduced a new paradigm in his 2005 article called “The Five Elements“. As the name suggests, he integrated the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine into the training programming of his athletes.
Accordingly, athletes have a particular “elemental type” corresponding to their personality. His greatest athletes accounted for neurotransmitter dominance in their training:
- Dopamine athletes respond best to intensity.
- Acetylcholine athletes respond best to variety.
- Balanced neurotransmitters respond best to volume.
- GABA and Serotonin types are unlikely to care about training.
Star athlete or not, the test does have a few drawbacks.
Downsides of the Test
Science evolves rapidly.
We now know that there are more than four neurotransmitters. The Braverman assessment only accounts for the large four. These less researched ones can affect you and your personality.
Self-reported data is notoriously inaccurate. Such is the case with questionnaires.
And there's more to your personality than subjective behavior. For example, your gut microbiome plays a massive role in neurotransmitter production. Therefore, your gut contributes to your personality.
While better than most others, take Braverman results with a grain of salt.
How to Interpret & Use Your Braverman Results
Once you know your Braverman results, you're ready to start testing some changes. There are two ways of finding what works for you:
- Use a journal. The old-fashioned way. Log how you feel throughout the day and look for patterns.
- Use self-quantification technology (recommended). Devices like Biostrap and Oura can eliminate the guesswork and show you how your body and brain's vitals change.
After some trial-and-error, you'll discover the things that actually work for you.
I barely batted an eye from my results. I intuitively knew most of these already:
Next, I use a website called SelfHacked to find supplements and lifestyle practices known to boost certain neurotransmitters. You can also check how your Braverman results compare to your cognitive DNA data.
Based on my report, this example shows the supplements and other things I can do to boost GABA. However, you can search the site and find similar articles for all neurotransmitters.
Braverman Acetylcholine Dominance:
I'm happiest when I'm learning. I'm borderline obsessed with things that challenge my beliefs. I get lots of choline from eating copious amounts of eggs. I'm very careful with acetylcholine boosters. Just a tad too much and I feel anxiety and paranoia — side effects of too much acetylcholine.
Braverman GABA Deficiency:
Again, no surprise. I've always had a hard time truly relaxing. I'm more “Type A” than I care to admit, even though it's idolized by society. Recently I've focused heavily on improving emotional wellbeing, a side effect of low GABA. I do really well on supplemental GABA, melatonin, valerian root, passionflower, taurine, magnolia bark, and sometimes, Phenibut. I'm very cautious about my alcohol consumption since it is a powerful relaxer acting on GABA and therefore I have an especially high potential for addiction.
Other people I've recommended the test to mentioned similarly spot-on scoring.
Take The Free Online Braverman Test Today
Personality tester or not, spend five to ten minutes taking this one.
You'll get results you can use to effectively tailor your diet, supplementation, learning, and lifestyle.
The results and recommendations aren't too extensive, and it won't replace all other tests. Given that it's free, fast, and useful, Braverman personality typing deserves a spot in any biohacker's toolkit.
What personality tests have you found useful?