Our brain – The 10% myth

Our brain – The 10% myth

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The average adult brain weighs 1.4 kilograms; this is not a great percentage of our overall mass however it costs us 20% of our energy intake! Take an adult male who consumes 2000 calories a day, 400 are being used just to power the complex machinery inside your skull!
Do we only use 10% of our brain? When you think about this logically then it is a mystery how it is so widely believed. Could we remove 90% of our brain and still be fully functioning beings… of course not. It is a wonder then how 48% of teachers within the U.K, 65% of Americans and 30% of American phycology students believe in this myth. (Statistics from The Guardian)

Now we will not be focusing on the neurological and cognitive science on why this myth is not true and how it may have been misinterpreted from past research by going in to all the facts and figures. However we will discuss it a little further.

The birth of this myth could have been due to research done by Mr Jean Pierre Flourens in the 1800’s, he was a leading expert in then modern cognitive sciences. His work in demonstrating the regional functionality of the brains hemispheres often characterized a large portion of the cerebral hemispheres (each of the two parts of the cerebrum – left and right – in the brain) as the ‘silent cortex’. We now know due to modern day advancement that this is not so silent after all. The misinterpretation of this work could have lead to the myth that a wide number of people still believe in today, perhaps it came from elsewhere, all that really matter is that we don’t believe it and we fully engage our mind to any task that we chose to participate in.

So next time you hear someone say something along the lines of “wow, we done that only using 10% of our brains, imagine what we could have done with the other 90%!” You can politely correct them and change this unconscious self limiting behaviour that people participate in. If we truly believe that we only have access to 10% of our brain, this limits us as a species, maybe for some people it is a useful excuse allowing them to achieve the bare minimum. Don’t let this be you, you have the ability to control all of your mind and body, use this potential to achieve something great and don’t believe in to the excuse that we are only 10% of what we could be!