For years, people have clung to the myth that humans only use about ten percent of our brains each day. While this was strange to consider, it was well-accepted with 65% of the American population falling for it and even a third of psychology majors thinking it was true also. The thought that our brains are only being partially used prompted some to hope that powers such a mind-reading and telekinesis were within reach if only the rest of the brain could be put into use.
While it was an interesting thought that managed to result in some pretty spectacular movies, science is proving that we actually use about 100% of our brains every day.
Through the use of neuropsychology, scientists have been able to see that every part of our brain is necessary for our daily functions and that we truly do use every part of it at some point throughout our daily routines. As of now, there has been no area of the brain that seems to be unused or inactive.
Brain scans that show active red spots on a gray background of brain mass don’t mean that the gray area is inactive; instead, they simply show that the red spots are the areas that are currently being used the most and are more active. Certain activities stimulate specific parts of the brain, encouraging them to work harder while the rest of the brain remains in its natural state of use.
People who have undergone strokes or brain damage are perfect examples of the use of all of one’s brain in daily life. Even if a small portion of their brain is damaged, they can still find their quality of life serious impacted and may have trouble completing simple tasks. This shows that every part of the brain is necessary to ensure that people are able to live life healthy and well.
So, where did the 10% myth originate and why is it still so prevalent if it isn’t true? Mainly, people cling to the idea that they are only using a tiny portion of their brains in regular activities because they want it to be that way. The possibility of being able to increase productivity and do different things is so appealing to people that they can’t give up the hope that it is right. While we don’t know where the 10% myth got started, it has been spread far and wide over the years, with self-help books even going so far as to perpetuate the theory.
Early researchers didn’t help with neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield using brain scans to explain that some areas appeared to remain silent. Despite his theory, more recent studies have shown that all parts of the brain are truly in use on a daily basis.
So, if you were hoping to activate your brain and start using it to read your co-workers’ thoughts, then you’re probably out of luck. However, you can enhance your brain’s use and develop it better through activities such as reading.