Daily Archives: Monday, 16:11, February 21, 2011
Hat Tip to AtGoogleTalks YouTube channel
The idea that only a small portion of the brain, say, roughly 10%, is actually used is pretty endemic to our culture, and the implication is that the rest of it goes untapped, some 90% of it according to many.
It is not an easy task to determine the origin of this idea, and there happen to be a lot of possibilities to consider. It could have come from misquotes of Einstein, or from statements by William James, or any number of other well-known figures. Predictably, psychics have claimed that the other 90% is the source of psi abilities so as to support continued belief in psi by the general public.
This idea has been kept going over the years by advertising companies and credulous journalists, as well as self-empowerment gurus and works of popular fiction.
In actual brain imaging using the newest techniques, it can be shown that ALL of the brain is in use, and each region has its own use, from unconscious functions needed to keep us alive, thinking, perceiving and remembering among a myriad other essential neurological workings.
You can’t remove a part of the brain without disabling function, and all of it is in use for something, some regions less active than others at a given time depending on their use. The brain consumes about 20% of the body’s total metabolic energy, an enormous amount of resources for a single organ that allegedly goes mostly unused.
if the other 90% were not in use at sometime, then that percentage of the brain would simply not grow, since it grows according to its use, and the brain would be only 10% of its actual mass. The development of the brain maps itself to its use by the body.
Brain regions that are never used, like the visual cortex in people blind throughout their lives, never develop, and even with the proper functioning of the eyes, their brains lack the processing power to enable them to use what the eyes ‘see.’
No matter how amazing the brain is, and it is indeed amazing; this three pound lump of jelly that can think about the nature of the universe, think about concepts like infinity, and even think about itself thinking, the myth that only between 10% – 12% is ever used is just that, a myth, no matter how popular it is in our culture.