How much of our brain we use? The myth of the 10% and the truth


How much of our brain do we use?

According to a survey from 2013, about 65% of Americans believe we only use 10% of our brain. But this is just a myth, according to a neurologist’s interview with Barry Gordon at Scientific American. He explained that most of our brain is almost always active. The myth of 10% is also broken down by a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

A common brain imaging technique, called a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), can measure activity in the brain while one performs different tasks. Using this and similar methods, the researchers showed that most of our brain is active for most of the time, even when a person performs a very simple energy. Most brain is active, even when a person is resting or asleep. The percentage of the brain used at any time varies from person to person. It also depends on what the person does or thinks at the moment.

Where does the myth of 10% come from?

It is not clear how this myth has begun, but there are many possible sources. In an article published in the journal Science, in 1907, psychologist and author William James argued that people use only part of their mental resources. However, he did not specify the percentage. 10% was also mentioned in Dale Carnegie’s 1936 book How to Win Friends and Influence People. The myth was described as something that the writer’s professor used to say.

There is also a belief among scientists that neurons account for about 10% of brain cells. This may have contributed to the myth of 10%. Myth was repeated several times in articles, television programs and films, which made him so widely “believable”.

Left and Right hemispheres of the brain
Many believe that a person’s brain basically works either on the left hemisphere or on the right. It is believed that people with a more powerful right brain hemisphere are more creative, while the left hemisphere is associated with the most reasonable individuals.

However, research shows that this is a myth. People are not dominated by one or the other hemisphere of their brain. A healthy person is constantly using both hemispheres. It is true that hemispheres have different tasks. For example, a study in PLOS Biology examined the extent to which the left hemisphere participates in language processing and the right to process emotions.

Alcohol and brain

Long-term alcoholism can lead to a number of health problems, including brain injury. But it’s not so simple to say that drinking alcohol kills brain cells. This is a myth. The reasons for this are complex. If a woman drinks excessive alcohol during pregnancy, it can affect the development of the fetus brain and even cause fetal alcohol syndrome. The brain of babies with this condition may be smaller and often contain fewer brain cells. This can lead to learning and behavioral difficulties.

Subconscious messages

Surveys show that subconscious messages can cause an emotional reaction to people who do not realize they are receiving emotional stimuli. But can subliminal messages help a person learn new things?

A study published in Nature Communications found that listening to a predetermined vocabulary when sleeping a person could improve his ability to remember the words. This only happened to people who had already studied the vocabulary. The researchers noted that listening to information while we are asleep can not help a person learn new things. It can only improve the recall of the information he learned earlier while he was awake.