Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Why Do We Only Use 10 Percent Of The Brain

Don't Miss

Are You Really Only Using 10 Percent Of Your Brain

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Chances are, at one time or another, somebody — your fourth-grade teacher, an uncle concerned about your future prospects or a $200-an-hour corporate career coach — has explained to you that most people only use 10 percent of their brains. This tidbit, which has been circulating since at least the mid-1930s and is still repeated in contemporary self-help books, often seems to be shared for motivational purposes: If you’d only wake up, smell the coffee and put more of your precious gray matter to use, you’d surely leave behind those legions of ordinary neuron-squandering dolts and climb to success.

“Despite much contrary data and its affront to logic, this hoary myth refuses to die, no doubt because of the considerable uplift and encouragement it affords, not to mention the profit it generates for those who hawk self-improvement products that exploit the myth,” neuroscientists Sergio Della Sala and Barry L. Beyerstein once lamented in an essay. “If 90 percent of the brain were really a cerebral spare tire, as many of these hucksters claim, learning to tap its unused capacity would be the route to fabulous achievement, riches and fame — even, according to many New Age entrepreneurs, the pathway to psychic powers and transcendent bliss” .

So what’s the truth about how much of your brain you actually use? And how do scientists study how the brain functions? Find out on the next few pages.

  • Brain-imaging Tools
  • Your Brain Uses 20% Of The Oxygen And Blood In Your Body

    Your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen. As little as five minutes without oxygen can cause some brain cells to die, leading to severe brain damage. Also, the harder you think, the more oxygen and fuel your brain will use from your blood up to 50%.

    Every minute, 750-1,000 milliliters of blood flows through the brain. This is enough to fill a bottle of wine or liter bottle of soda.

    The Human Brain Contains Approximately One Hundred Billion Neurons

    This is about the same as the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. These neurons are connected by trillions of connections, or synapses. Experts call this a neuron forest. Information runs between these neurons in your brain for everything we see, think, or do. These neurons move information at different speeds. The fastest speed for information to pass between neurons is about 250 mph. That being said, neurons only make up 10% of the brain.

    Recommended Reading: How To Shrink Brain Tumors Naturally

    Your Brain Is Mostly Fat

    Consisting of minimum 60% fat, your brain is the fattiest organ in your body. This is why healthy fats, such as omega-3s and omega-6s, are vital for brain and overall body health. Healthy fat helps stabilize the cell walls in the brain. It can also reduce inflammation and helps the immune system function properly.

    Despite Evidence We Do Not Seem Comfortable Letting Go Of This Neuromyth

    Most Amazing Facts about the Human Brain. Why do we use ...

      When someone says you are only using 10 percent of your brain, what does that mean? And how do we know that we only use 10 percent? We would have to know what 100-percent capacity looks like before we could say we presently use one-tenth of it, right? Here is the science behind it all.

      Have you ever met anyone who is missing 90 percent of their brain? Probably not. You have never heard of anyone with that much brain missing, because pretty much all areas of the brain are capable of electrical and chemical activity. People wouldnt be able to function with that tidbit of grey matter. Even the regions of the cortex in blind people that normally process vision are co-opted for other functions. Everyone makes use of the entire brain.

      Neuromythology in Popular Culture

      The average person uses 10 percent of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100 percent. So reads a poster for Lucy, the 2014 action-thriller starring Scarlett Johansson. This sounds intriguingbut it also sounds very familiar. That is because Hollywood loves to revive the 10-percent myth every few years .

      Studies from neuroscience show that the brain uses about 20 percent of the bodys energy, and it would not make much sense to dedicate so many resources to such a small percentage of the brain. Along those lines, biologists say that we would not have evolved such big brains if we only used just a little bit of them.

      Where Did This Originate?

      You May Like: Brain Bleed Symptoms In Adults

      Debunking The 10% Myth

      • Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University
      • B.A., Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University
      • B.A., Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University

      You may have heard that humans only use 10 percent of their brain power, and that if you could unlock the rest of your brainpower, you could do so much more. You could become a super genius, or acquire psychic powers like mind reading and telekinesis. However, there is a powerful body of evidence debunking the 10 percent myth. Scientists have consistently shown that humans use their entire brain throughout each day.

      Despite the evidence, the 10 percent myth has inspired many references in the cultural imagination. Films like “Limitless” and “Lucy” depict protagonists who develop godlike powers thanks to drugs that unleash the previously inaccessible 90 percent of the brain. A 2013 study showed that about 65 percent of Americans believe the trope, and a 1998 study showed that a full third of psychology majors, who focus on the workings of the brain, fell for it.

      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.

      Don’t Miss: What Happens If A Brain Bleed Goes Untreated

      Facts About The Brain

      Posted on by DENT Neurologic Institutein Lifestyle Tips

      The brain is a very complex part of your body. It has the ability to send and receive a large amount of information. Because of this, there are still many mysteries about the human brain. Here are some quick facts to help you understand the most complicated organ in your body.

      Cholesterol Is Key To Learning And Memory


      The brain has a higher cholesterol content than any other organ. In fact, about 25% of the bodys cholesterol resides within the brain. The brain is highly dependent on cholesterol, but its cholesterol metabolism is unique. Because the blood-brain barrier prevents brain cells from taking up cholesterol from the blood, the brain must produce its own cholesterol. The brains cholesterol is much more stable than the cholesterol in other organs, but when it breaks down, it is recycled into new cholesterol right in the brain.

      Also Check: I Hate Math Get Rid Of This Number Brain Test

      Nope Sorry You Dont Have A Lot Of Extra Brain Power Just Waiting For You To Access It

      Youve likely heard this wild idea in one form or another: we humans only use 10 percent of our brain. Like a horror movie monster, the myth just wont die. Various scientists and science journalists think theyve killed it. But as soon as they start to relax, it comes roaring back. The fact is, this notion is not even close to true.

      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.

      Read Also: Does A Brain Hemorrhage Hurt

      What Can We Do To Improve Our Brains Function

      It isnât just older people encountering cognitive decline who should be working to improve their brains, Rebecca says.

      âOlder people get the most focus, but thinking skills are important for everyone,â she says. âThe opportunity to improve the health of our brain is there for all of us at any stage of our life, and the earlier in life you start, the better the effects.â

      Hereâs what we can all do to optimise the health and function of our brain.

      The Origin Of The Myth

      Brain Usage &  10 Percent 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.

      Don’t Miss: Can A Brain Bleed Kill You

      We Have 100 Billion Brain Cells

      This next myth has even fooled most scientists up until recently. After years worth of research that estimated around 100 billion neurons in the human brain, a study published in the 2009 revealed our brains were actually home to approximately 86 billion neurons. Think those 14 billion neurons make for a small difference? Fourteen million neurons are equal to the entire size of a baboons brain.

      Lucy Is Wrong We Use Way More Than 10% Of Our Brains

      I know I haven’t earned my Ph.D. yet, Professor, but I beg to differ. You see, we all access 100% of our brains every day. And we don’t have to be telekinetic or memorize an entire deck of cards to do it.

      In the film, which opens next Friday, Scarlett Johansson’s character Lucy is forced to work as a drug smuggler in a Taiwanese mob. The drug they’ve implanted into her body leaks into her system, allowing her to “access 100%” of her brain. Among other things, Lucy can move objects with her mind, choose not to feel pain, and memorize copious amounts of information.

      In a way, the idea that we only use 10% of our brains is rather inspiring. It may motivate us to try harder or tap into some mysterious, intact reservoir of creativity and potential. There are even products that promise to unlock that other 90%.

      As ludicrous as the claim is, however, 2/3 of the public and half of science teachers still believe the myth to be true. The notion is so widespread that when University College London neuroscientist Sophie Scott attended a first aid course, her instructor assured the class that head injuries weren’t dangerous because “90% of the brain do anything.”

      You may have played God in a movie, Morgan Freeman, but clearly you need a primer on how your most incredible creation-the brain-functions!

      Originally published at The Conversation UK.

      Recommended Reading: Brain Freezes Caused

      We Use 10 Percent Of Our Brain

      A recent survey conducted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation revealed that 65 percent of survey respondents were under the impression that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. In reality, we use all of our brains to complete daily tasks like walking to work and breathing. Motor function, speech, and other utilities of the brain require every square inch of the cerebrum, cerebellum, frontal lobes, etc.

      A Myth Repeated By Pop

      Do We Really Only Use 10% Of Our Brain?

      One of the oldest and most pervasive brain-myths is that we only use a fraction of our brain and that we can develop exceptional cognitive abilities if we learn to tap into the unused parts.

      The movie Lucy by Luc Besson featuring Scarlett Johansson is a perfect example of the myth in action.

      Its exact origin is unknown but like many brain-myths it may have started with the overinterpretation of real experimental findings: In the and 19th and early 20th century scientists found that large parts of an animals brain could be removed without a noticeable effect on behaviour.

      This led the scientists to believe that a small part of the brain was enough for mental faculties to work.

      Today we believe that the scientists did not test the animals thorough enough to notice all the effects their experiments had on the animals behaviour, but their findings may have started the believe that much of the brain lays unexplored.

      Also Check: What Happened To Jfk’s Brain

      The Visual Areas Of The Brain Are In The Back

      The part of your brain responsible for vision, the occipital lobe, is located in the back. This is why if you get banged in the back of your head, you will see stars. The left side of your brain controls the vision on your right side, and vise versa. Your brain also processes sound on the opposite sides of the head.

      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.

      Don’t Miss: Fluoride Officially Classified As A Neurotoxin

      Brain Activity Can Power A Small Light Bulb

      When you are awake, your brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity which is enough to power a small light bulb. The brain also works fast. The information going from your arms/legs to your brain travels at a speed of 150-260 miles per hour. The brain consumes glucose from the body to produce this amount of the energy.

      Do You Really Use Only 10 Percent Of Your Brain Of Course Not

      Three Brain Myths You Probably Disregard

      Senior Science Editor, The Huffington Post

      It’s the neuroscience myth that just refuses to go away. No, you do not use only 10 percent of your brain. In fact, scientists say most of your brain is active all the time.

      This myth about your brain has been thrust in the spotlight recently as it’s the premise of the new sci-fi flick “Lucy,” in which the main character takes a drug that allows her to access 100 percent of her brain. Apparently doing so gives her some cool super powers.

      The storyline may make for some fun movie-watching when the film releases Friday, but it’s not accurate science.

      “Most movies and sci-fi books have us believe that humans can only use around 10 percent of our brain, which is absolute nonsense” Mitchell Moffitt, co-creator of the popular YouTube series ASAPScience, says in a new YouTube video .

      “Thanks to modern brain scanning technology, we know that we use the whole thing all the time. Not necessarily all at once,” Moffitt says, “however, there’s no part of the brain that simply doesn’t do anything.”

      After all, the brain uses around 20 percent of your body’s energy, even though it only accounts for a small percentage of your whole body weight, Scientific American reported. See, your mind is way more impressive than you might have thought.

      Also Check: Hemorrhagic Contusion Brain

      How Much Of Our Brain We Actually Use

      Neuroscientists point out a number of reasons why the 10% myth is false:

      • Brain imaging scans clearly show that almost all regions of the brain are active during even fairly routine tasks such as talking, walking, and listening to music.
      • If the 10% myth were true, people who suffer brain damage as the result of an accident or stroke would probably not notice any real effect. In reality, there isn’t a single area of the brain that can be damaged without resulting in some sort of consequence.
      • We would not have evolved such large brains if we were only using a tiny portion of them.
      • The brain uses approximately 20% of the body’s energy. It would make little evolutionary sense to have such a large portion of our energy resources utilized by such a tiny amount of the brain.
      • Brain mapping research has yet to find any region of the brain that does not serve a function. “Numerous types of brain imaging studies show that no area of the brain is completely silent or inactive,” wrote Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman and Dr. Aaron E. Carroll in a study of medical myths. “Detailed probing of the brain has failed to identify the ‘non-functioning’ 90 percent.”

      Unfortunately, the 10% myth remains both popular and persistent. It has been repeated in popular culture in everything from advertisements to television programs to Hollywood blockbusters such as the 2014 film Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman.

      More articles

      Popular Articles