Do we really use only 10% of our brain?
“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.”
The Size Zero Myth:
If I need to do wonders, I can just tap into my unused brain power. As I have heard from time to time that humans only use about 10% of their brain capacity. Shouldn’t it be simple to dedicate more time to unlocking the unused portion of my brain to get the results I want?
Albert Einstein is the only person believed to have used 100% of his brain.
The Wise Hero Reality:
Origin of the myth:
Historians believe the widespread myth might have gotten its start as far back as 1936. In that year, journalist Lowell Thomas wrote in the forward to Dale Carnegie’s famous self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, that “the average person develops only 10 percent of his latent mental ability.”
Although far back in 1906, there was an essay by Harvard psychologist William James who tested the theory in the accelerated raising of child prodigy. James never wrote that we use only 10% of our brain capacity. Instead, James wrote that he believed “we are only making use of a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”
10% of what?
This is an important question to ask. 10% refers to the region of the brain or number of brain cells???
10% refers to the region of the brain:
Using techniques called Positron Emission Tomography (PET) & Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI), neuro-scientists can place a person inside a scanner and see which parts of the brain are activated when they do or think about something. A simple action like reading this blog requires activity in far more than a tenth of the brain, in-fact scans show that no matter what you do, all brain areas are always active (Some areas are more active at any one time than others).
10% refers to the number of brain cell:
When any nerve cells are going spare they either degenerate and die off or they are colonised by other areas nearby. We simply don’t let our brain cells hang around idly. They’re too valuable for that.
Brain tissue is metabolically expensive:
The rule in neuroscience is “use it or lose it”
The brain is enormously costly when compared to the rest of the body, in terms of oxygen and nutrient consumption. It can require up to 20% of the body’s energy which is lot more than any other organ, despite making up only 2% of the human body by weight. The human brain size has dramatically grown over million years of evolution, relative to other species. It strains credulity to think that evolution would have permitted squandering of resources on a scale necessary to build and maintain such a massively underutilized organ.
Brain damage studies:
Minor brain damage can have devastating effects – not what you’d expect if we had 90% spare capacity. There is almost no area of the brain that can be damaged without loss of abilities. Even slight damage to small areas of the brain can have profound effects.
When I saw the movie Lucy, I really believed this theory. In-fact I have heard few self help seminars on increasing memory power, where this theory was used. So be the WISE HERO and don’t blindly believe whatever you see in TV shows or movies as most of them are fiction (read the disclaimer). So yes its true, Einstein used 100% of his brain. So do we.
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Meet the Author
Pooja Mitra also liked to be called as 'The Wise Hero' is an Electronics & Communication Engineer by education and a Blogger by passion. Pooja is a spiritual soul, travel enthusiast and a health fanatic who shares her journey through her blog From Size Zero to Wise Hero. She is also the owner of and blog consultant at The Blogipedia. When not in front of a backlit device, she dabbles in music and art.Learn more
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