The brain's small potential?


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Over the years, I've heard that a person only uses 10% of their brain. Seems like a lot of thinking, remembering, feeling, etc., to only be using a small portion of our brain! 

In reality, we use more of our brain that we actually think. Our brains are 2% of our total body weight, but 20% of our blood flow from the heart is required to go to the brain. With such an important organ, it is highly unlikely that such a small percentage of it is being used. Scientists aren't sure where this myth came from, though an experiment was done that showed removing 58% of a rat's brain unaffected the animal, which could have been exaggerated and been the source of the rumor. An article in Scientific American, says that while all parts of our brain are not "running" at the same time, a large majority of the regions are used continually. The story gives this example that, "In walking toward the coffeepot, reaching for it, pouring the brew into the mug, even leaving extra room for cream, the occipital and parietal lobes, motor sensory and sensory motor cortices, basal ganglia, cerebellum and frontal lobes all activate. A lightning storm of neuronal activity occurs almost across the entire brain in the time span of a few seconds." 

Everyday activities and movements are obviously made possible by the different parts of our brains, unconscious activities included in this as well. However, another reason that people may say we only use a small portion of our brains could be because neuron clusters that control those conscious and unconscious activities are extremely close to each other in our brains. 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=people-only-use-10-percent-of-brain

3 Comments

This post was really interesting. I also always have heard that rumor about using only 10% of your brain, especially with the movie Limitless that came out based on that rumor. Something though that is interesting about your post is that the article didn't seem to guess the amount of our brain that we do use. Is this possibly because we don't use much more than 10% or that we use almost all of it? It seems we use a lot of different parts, but maybe we don't use them all to their full potential?

According to an article that I found on science ray.com , we mechanically use 100% of our brains, but we are just unable to maximize the usage of our brains. The article makes a really cool comparison between our brains and a stereo. When you play music on a stereo, you are using 100% of it. But if the volume knob is only set at a 2 level, then you would not be getting the same amount of usage as you would if you set it at a higher level. So basically what it's saying is that our brains have a lot more room to fill, our volume levels are not even close to being turned all the way up.

Source: http://scienceray.com/biology/human-biology/how-much-brain-do-we-use/

It would be interesting to see how over time we have begun to "turn up the volume" on our brains. If now we are so far from maximizing how much of our brains we use then how different was it years ago? This relates to the development of us as humans and evolution and possibly in the future will we use more of our brain?

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