Do We Really Use Only 10 Percent Of Our Brain
Its one of Hollywoods favorite bits of pseudoscience: human beings use only 10 percent of their brain, and awakening the remaining 90 percentsupposedly dormantallows otherwise ordinary human beings to display extraordinary mental abilities. In Phenomenon , John Travolta gains the ability to predict earthquakes and instantly learns foreign languages. Scarlett Johansson becomes a superpowered martial-arts master in Lucy . And in Limitless Bradley Cooper writes a novel overnight.
This ready-made blueprint for fantasy films is also a favorite among the general public. In a survey, 65 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, People only use 10 percent of their brain on a daily basis. But the truth is that we use all of our brain all of the time.
Weve been able to back up these logical conclusions with hard evidence. Imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging , allow doctors and scientists to map brain activity in real time. The data clearly shows that large areas of the brainfar more than 10 percentare used for all sorts of activity, from seemingly simple tasks like resting or looking at pictures to more complex ones like reading or doing math. Scientists have yet to find an area of the brain that doesnt do anything.
All You Need To Know About The 10 Percent Brain Myth In 60 Seconds
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The new Luc Besson movie Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, opens tomorrow in theaters countrywide. It’s based on the immortal myth that we use only 10 percent of our brains. Johansson’s character is implanted with drugs that allow her to access 100 percent of her brain capacity. She subsequently gains the ability to learn Chinese in an instant, beat up bad guys, and throw cars with her mind . Morgan Freeman plays neuroscientist Professor Norman, who’s built his career around the 10 percent claim. “It is estimated most human beings use only 10 percent of the brain’s capacity,” he says, “Imagine if we could access 100 percent.”
As it happens, I’ve written a book all about brain myths . I thought I’d use what I learned to give you a 60-second explainer on the 10 percent myth.
Great Myths of the Brain, by Christian Jarrett, was published in 2014. .
No, the 2011 movie Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper was based on the same idea, except the precise figure was placed at 20 percent. Cooper’s character takes a pill that lets him access the full 100 percent. Both the 1991 film Defending Your Life and Flight of the Navigator include claims that most of us use a fraction of our brains. The myth is also invoked in the TV series Heroes, to explain why some people have special powers.
Dreams Are Believed To Be A Combination Of Imagination Physiological Factors And Neurological Factors
The limbic system in the mid-brain deals with emotions in both waking and dreaming and includes the amygdala, which is mostly associated with fear and is especially active during dreams. Dreams are proof that your brain is working even when you are sleeping. The average human has about 4-7 dreams per night.
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Exercise Is Just As Good For Your Brain As It Is For Your Body
Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to your brain. As your increased breathing pumps more oxygen into your bloodstream, more oxygen is delivered to your brain. This leads to neurogenesisor the production of neuronsin certain parts of your brain that control memory and thinking.;;Neurogenesis increases brain volume, and this cognitive reserve is believed to help buffer against the effects of dementia.
It has been noted that exercise promotes the production of neurotrophins, leading to greater brain plasticity, and therefore, better memory and learning. In addition to neurotrophins, exercise also results in an increase in neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, which boost information processing and mood.
Conflict Of Interest Statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Wallas, G. 1926. The Art of Thought. Turnbridge Wells: Solis Press.
Duff, M. C., Kurczek, J., Rubin, R., Cohen, N. J., and Tranel, D. 2013. Hippocampal amnesia disrupts creative thinking. Hippocampus 23:11439. doi:10.1002/hipo.22208
Warren, D. E., Kurczek, J., and Duff, M. C. 2016. What relates newspaper, definite, and clothing? An article describing deficits in convergent problem solving and creativity following hippocampal damage. Hippocampus 26:83540. doi:10.1002/hipo.22591
Fink, A., Grabner, R. H., Benedek, M., Reishofer, G., Hauswirth, V., Fally, M., et al. 2009. The creative brain: investigation of brain activity during creative problem solving by means of EEG and fMRI. Hum. Brain Mapp. 30:73448. doi:10.1002/hbm.20538
Welter, M. M., Jaarsveld, S., van Leeuwen, C., and Lachmann, T. 2016. Intelligence and creativity: over the threshold together? Creat. Res. J. 28:2128. doi:10.1080/10400419.2016.1162564
Andreasen, N. 2006. The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius. New York, NY: Plume.
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No Secret Store Of Untapped Brain Power
It is true however that the brain never activates all its 86 billion brain cells at the same time but the balance between cells sending signals and cells currently remaining quiet is crucial for the brains ability to transmit information.
The uncontrolled mass activation of brain cells is called a seizure and constitutes a serious medical problem rather than functional enhancement.
It is also true that there is a certain degree of redundancy in the brains architecture where several pathways serve similar functions but this safety mechanism is an important part of what makes our brain so resilient and adaptable.
So, unfortunately, there is no secret store of untapped brain power. We use all of our brain.
An Adult Brain Weighs About 3 Pounds
The cerebrum makes up 85% of the brains weight, and the brain makes up about 2% of a humans body weight. The texture of the brain is like a firm jelly. The heaviest normal human brain weighed 4.43 pounds. It belonged to the Russian Writer Ivan Turgenev. And the smallest brain, just 2.41 pounds, belonged to a woman.
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The Human Brain Gets Smaller As We Get Older
Human brain keeps developing until you are in your late 40s. It is the only organ in the human body to undergo development for such a long time. It also sees more changes than any other organ. Around mid-life, the brain will begin to shrink. However, size doesnt matter in the brain. There is no evidence that a larger brain is smarter than a smaller one.
The Origin Of The Myth
The main allure of the 10 percent myth is the idea that you could do so much more if only you could unlock the rest of your brain. Even with ample evidence suggesting the contrary, why do many people still believe that humans only use 10 percent of their brains? Its unclear how the myth spread in the first place, but it has been popularized by self-help books, and may even also be grounded in older, flawed, neuroscience studies.
The myth could be aligned with messages espoused by self-improvement books, which show you ways to do better and live up to your “potential.”;For example, the preface to the notorious “How to Win Friends and Influence People” says that the average person develops only 10 percent of his latent mental ability. This statement, which is traced back to psychologist William James, refers to a persons potential to achieve more rather than how much brain matter they used. Others have even said that Einstein explained his brilliance using the 10 percent myth, though these claims remain unfounded.
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Reading Out Loud Uses Different Brain Circuits Than Reading Silently
Reading aloud promotes brain development. Children first learn to read by speaking words out loud. Once that knowledge is established, then they learn to read to themselves.;Its indeed one of the strange facts about the brain because we usually teach our children to read and talk politely. But to promote brain development in your child, you should read and talk aloud in front of them.
Effects Of Technology Advancement On The Brain
Technology has been a boon for our generation however in todays world, technology affects our;brain negatively. In many cases, it has been observed that internet/gaming addiction leads to;shrinkage of tissue;volume in the brain. Apart from this, it leads to;anxiety,;depression;and sometimes to even suicidal thoughts thus disturbing our;mental equilibrium. It is even recommended that we should stop relying on machines for basic functions such as calculators or GPS navigators. This way we do not allow our brains to exercise which in turn inhibits in expanding our brains beyond its limits.
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Alcohol And The Brain
Long-term alcoholism can lead to a number of health problems, including brain damage.
It is not, however, as simple as saying that drinking alcohol kills brain cells this is a myth. The reasons for this are complicated.
If a woman drinks too much alcohol while pregnant, it can affect the brain development of the fetus, and even cause fetal alcohol syndrome.
The brains of babies with this condition may be smaller and often contain fewer brain cells. This may lead to difficulties with learning and behavior.
What Does It Mean To Use Only 10% Of Your Brain
What data were used to come up with the number – 10%? Does this mean that you would be just fine if 90% of your brain was removed? If the average human brain weighs 1,400 grams and 90% of it was removed, that would leave 140 grams of brain tissue. That’s about the size of a sheep’s brain. It is well known that damage to a relatively small area of the brain, such as that caused by a stroke, may cause devastating disabilities. Certain neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease, also affect only specific areas of the brain. The damage caused by these conditions is far less than damage to 90% of the brain.
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Meditation For Increasing Brain Power
Friends, do you know how important it is to meditate? When you meditate, you focus on one thing. Meditation increases the concentration of human beings. And if a person can concentrate for a long time, it means that he can learn things very quickly. Because of increased concentration, you can increase the capacity of your mind at rest. You also know that concentration helps us to do things better.
To understand it well, try taking it on yourself. Many times when you sit reading, suddenly a lot of non-essential thoughts start coming in your mind. And you know very well that these thoughts also affect you a lot. They dont even let you read. The arrival of such thoughts proves that you have a problem with concentration.
To increase your concentration and use 100% of your brain, try to wake up daily and meditate. At first, it will be quite difficult but after that, you can increase the time of meditation daily. 4 Just like you spent 10 minutes meditating first, on the second day you can increase the time to 20 minutes. Friends, I have seen many people who cannot sit for anywhere for an hour, meditation is far away. Such people are very less able to awaken their brain abilities.
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Ten Percent Of The Brain Myth
The 10 percent of the brain myth asserts that humans generally use only 10 percent of their brains. It has been misattributed to many celebrated people, notably Albert Einstein. By extrapolation, it is suggested that a person may harness this unused potential and increase intelligence.
Changes in grey and white matter following new experiences and learning have been shown, but it has not yet been proven what the changes are. The popular notion that large parts of the brain remain unused, and could subsequently be “activated”, rests in folklore and not science. Though specific mechanisms regarding brain function remain to be fully describede.g. memory, consciousnessthe physiology of brain mapping suggests that all areas of the brain have a function and that they are used nearly all the time.
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Is There Such A Thing As Being Left
Well, your brain definitely has a left side and a right side . Each hemisphere controls certain functions and movement on the opposite side of your body.
Beyond that, the left brain is more verbal. Its analytical and orderly. It takes in the small details, and then puts them together to understand the whole picture. The left brain handles reading, writing, and calculations. Some call it the logical side of the brain.
The right brain is more visual and deals in images more than words. It processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous manner. It takes in the big picture, and then looks at the details. Some say its the creative, artsy side of the brain.
Theres a popular theory that people can be divided into left-brained or right-brained personalities based on one side being dominant. Left-brained people are said to be more logical, and right-brained people are said to be more creative.
After a two-year analysis , a team of neuroscientists found no evidence to prove this theory. Brain scans showed that humans dont favor one hemisphere over the other. Its not likely that the network on one side of your brain is substantially stronger than the opposite side.
As with most things relating to the human brain, its complicated. While each hemisphere has its strengths, they dont work in isolation. Both sides contribute something to logical and creative thinking.
Keep The Brain Active
The more a person uses their brain, the better their mental functions become. For this reason, brain training exercises are a good way to maintain overall brain health.
A recent study conducted over 10 years found that people who used brain training exercises reduced the risk of dementia by 29 percent.
The most effective training focused on increasing the brains speed and ability to process complex information quickly.
There are a number of other popular myths about the brain. These are discussed and dispelled below.
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What Will Happen If We Could Use 100% Of Our Brain
Ever thought if you could solve that 3-page lengthy problem of that boring maths class in a matter of a second. Or why a computer can multitask so better but we humans, who created it, couldnt. If you could devise your own time machine had you got enough brains. Ever thought what would happen;if you could use 100 of your brain? Well, if all these tasks were done in the blink of an eye then it would turn very comfortable for the human race.
Short Term Memory Lasts About 20
This has to do with your brains capacity for holding small amounts of information in the active mind. The brain keeps this information in an available state for easy access, but only does so for about a minute and a half. Most people hold memory for numbers around 7 seconds, and memory for letters around 9 seconds. In addition, the brain can store up to 7 digits in its working memory. That is why the telephone numbers in the United States are 7 digits long. Learn more about Memory Disorders.
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Does Alcohol Really Kill Your Brain Cells
Theres no question that alcohol affects the brain in negative ways. It can impair brain function even in the short term. In the longer term, it can lead to serious brain damage. It doesnt actually kill brain cells, though.
Long-term heavy drinking can cause shrinking of the brain and result in deficiencies in white matter. This can lead to:
- slurred speech
- family history of substance abuse
Alcoholics are prone to developing a brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Symptoms include:
- mental confusion
- paralysis of nerves that control eye movement
- muscle coordination problems and difficulty walking
- chronic learning and memory problems
Drinking during pregnancy can affect your babys developing brain, a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome tend to have smaller brain volume . They can also have fewer brain cells or normally functioning neurons. This can cause long-term behavioral and learning problems.
Alcohol may interfere with the brains ability to grow new brain cells, which is another reason this myth may persist.
Why is it so easy to believe these myths about the brain? Theres a grain of truth running through some of them. Others seep into our own brains through repetition, and we fail to question their validity.
If you previously bought into some of these brain myths, take heart. You werent alone.
How To Unlock Your Full Brain Hidden Potential
Technically speaking it is not possible to use;100%;of our brain;for a single activity. But there is a fact that the way we increase our strength by;muscular training;similarly there are ways we can unlock or just use a higher percentage of our brains. The capabilities of your brain can be expanded by;maintaining;your health and;challenging;yourself to new things. Certain steps to try unlock a larger part of your brains are :
- Stimulate your brain: Spending some time with nature, this helps you stimulate your brain and even improves cognitive function.
- Try hard things:;Scientists have found out that engaging your brain in some particularly hard and rigorous games or read a hard book which provides some new vocabulary as this helps you improve your fluid intelligence.
- Try new things:;As soon as you master at one task you should start the one, the reason being simple i.e. once your brain becomes efficient it stops trying new possibilities for a problem, so you should always be trying new things.
- Take naps:;It has been found out that small naps can boost your cognition, which helps you improve your brain function.
- Healthy Routine:;A healthy balanced diet, full nights sleep, avoiding the use of tobacco these are also certain factors which help in increasing the power of the brain.
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