Is it true that we use only 10% of our brain?

Is it true that we use only 10% of our brain?

For a long time, there has been a popular belief that human beings only utilize a meager 10% of their cognitive potential. This unfounded belief has been debunked by scientific research, and its perpetuation can hinder productivity and growth.

Whether you are a student or an educator, understanding the origins of this misconception can be advantageous in enhancing performance and promoting a growth mindset. Therefore, let us dispel this myth and embrace a more accurate understanding of human cognitive abilities.

The notion of the 10% brain myth

The widely-circulated 10% brain myth remains one of the most pervasive misconceptions surrounding human cognitive abilities. This myth originated in the early 20th century and was propagated by motivational speakers (there were already such individuals) seeking to inspire their audiences by highlighting the untapped potential they possessed.

One example of this can be found in the book “Peace, Power, and Wealth,” published in 1908, where the author espouses the idea that contemplating novel experiences can activate previously dormant areas of the brain. Despite being falsely attributed to Albert Einstein, a prolific target of misinformation, this notion lacks any evidence to support it.

It is important to recognize that Einstein was neither a neurologist nor a biologist and that his genius did not stem from using more than 10% of his brain. Such beliefs serve only to perpetuate the 10% brain myth and hinder our understanding of human cognitive potential. Let us dispel this fallacy and embrace a more accurate view of our remarkable cognitive abilities.

What is the reality behind the 10% brain myth?

Suppose we entertain the notion that we employ only 10% of our brain’s potential. Such an assumption would suggest that we could impair the remaining 90% without any discernible effect on our cognitive abilities. Well – this is far from the truth.

Modern brain activity tests, such as CT scans, indicate that the entire brain is active during all types of activities, whether conscious or unconscious. Moreover, specific regions of the brain are responsible for distinct cognitive functions, leaving little room for any significant untapped potential.

Therefore, the idea that 90% of our brain is redundant has no factual basis. In reality, the brain functions as a complex and interconnected network, and all its parts play crucial roles in our cognitive processes. Let us dismiss this fallacy and embrace a more accurate understanding of the remarkable power of the human brain.

The pervasive myth of the 10% brain has been reinforced by numerous misinterpretations of brain activity images. It is important to remember that these scans reveal differences in the activity of specific regions, rather than any temporary or permanent inactivity. The colors in the scans represent areas that are most actively involved in a particular process or activity, while gray indicates less activity relative to other regions, rather than a complete lack of activity.

In an article published in Scientific American, Dr. Barry L. Beyerstein, co-author of “50 Myths of Popular Psychology,” counters the 10% brain myth by stating that “the brain was shaped by natural selection!” It is inconceivable that evolution would create an organ as valuable as the brain, yet allow it to function at a mere fraction of its potential. Natural selection drives the development of organs in response to external conditions, and every brain function is tailored to meet specific environmental challenges.

Regrettably, motivational speakers and coaches continue to perpetuate the 10% brain myth, misleading their audiences into believing in hidden, untapped potential. To make matters worse, numerous scammers attempt to sell products that supposedly unlock these latent abilities and expand human perception.

As a result, it is crucial to dispel the 10% brain myth and acknowledge the incredible capabilities of the human brain, which has been shaped by millions of years of evolution to meet the challenges of an ever-changing environment. We must embrace the power of our brains and leverage them to achieve our fullest potential.

Thankfully, a team of neurologists has taken the initiative to debunk the myth that we only use 10% of our brain.

  1. They have conducted brain scans that confirm that we use the entire brain, all the time. Our brain is completely engaged during any activity, whether it is sleeping, walking, listening to music, reading or talking.

  2. If the myth were true, people who have suffered brain damage would not feel any difference. But in reality, when any part of the brain is damaged, it results in difficulty, disease or pain.

  3. The brain is a complex organ that has evolved over generations. If we only used 10% of it, we would not have developed such a large organ over time.

  4. The brain uses approximately 20% of our body’s energy. It seems unlikely that evolution would allow such a large reserve of energy to be wasted.

  5. Furthermore, Dr. Rachel Vreeman and Dr. Aaron Carroll, who specialize in studying medical myths have conducted brain mapping and neuroscience research that confirms there is no completely inactive or silent area in our brain. This research debunks the myth once and for all.

The persistent myth of 10% of the brain’s capacity is not only prevalent in everyday conversations, but also in popular culture, advertisements, TV shows, and Hollywood productions – as evidenced by movies like “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson. Despite being debunked by neuroscience research, this myth continues to spread and influence people’s beliefs about their own abilities.

Therefore, it is important to be equipped with the correct information and arguments when faced with such misconceptions. We now know from brain scans and medical research that the brain is fully engaged and active during any activity, and that all areas of the brain are essential for various functions.

It is also important to acknowledge that while we may not possess extraordinary abilities, we are utilizing our full brain capacity. This understanding can help us avoid making excuses for learning difficulties and inspire us to push ourselves to reach our full potential.

In conclusion, it is crucial to dispel the myth of 10% of the brain and recognize that we are fully utilizing our brain’s capacity. This knowledge can empower us to overcome challenges and strive for excellence in our personal and professional lives.