Scientists say we only utilize about 10% of our brains. There is enormous upside for the human species. So which of these two statements is true? If you think they are both true, you would be mistaken. The 10% myth was most likely perpetuated by an accidental interpretation that glial cells, of which the brain mostly consists of, show minimal function. Indeed, the human species has tremendous upside as their continues to be a greater understanding of how to maximize our physical and mental health. But if you are under the impression that we are only tapping about 10% of our brain, you would be mistaken. Let us explore this notion.
The whole idea as mentioned above most likely evolved from biological textbooks in which neurosurgeons back in 1930 referenced the percentage of neurons that fire at any one time….about 10%. But a neuron firing is vastly different than stating that 90% of the brain is sitting there dormant, unable to spring into action. Over time, this urban legend of brain biology gathered steam with even Albert Einstein falsely being pulled into the fray….supposedly advocating the same notion of the 10% usage of the brain. We know from the work of the last few decades (e.g. physiological brain mapping) that essentially all areas of the brain show function. Some of the other supporting evidence that the brain is highly functioning and does not tap only 10% of its brain matter includes:
1. Studies have revealed that there is essentially no part of the brain that can be damaged without consequence to some loss of ability.
2. Live scanning of the brain clearly demonstrates that no matter what we are doing, large segments of the brain is showing activity and no component of the brain lies in a dormant stage.
3. The brain is an energy user, tapping into about 20% of our oxygen supply. Feed me is what your brain is always telling you and while it only makes up about 2% of your body weight, it is ravenous when it comes to its energy needs.
4. Evolution is amazingly efficient if you give it enough time and hence our brains have evolved through natural selection to be highly active, with no excess, unused matter.
5. When the brain is studied at the micro structural level which involves the use of an electrode placed into the brain itself, each every cell shows activity.
So the next time someone tell you that you only use 10% of your brain, remind them that if that was so you would be functioning like a blob of matter with no discernible intelligence and physical coordination. OK, so perhaps that is the way some of us feel on certain days, but you know what I mean!