Humans only use 10% of their brain, so they say.

Man uses 10% percent of his brain? human working out cognition, working in the office, people wandering about the brain, science discovery, philosophy, man questions the brain's capabilities

Photo from David Goehring’s flickr

The 10% brain usage is definitely a myth for the scientific community. Every region of the brain is performing, whether it is from the back’s occipital lobe that controls our vision or the frontal lobe that’s responsible for our cognitive functioning. Every region of the brain is almost working constantly to accommodate our activities; even those that we don’t have to think of doing, like breathing, are under the brain’s supervision.

100% of our brain is working hard; that’s why it demands so much energy to operate. Our brain “represents three percent of the body’s weight and uses 20 percent of the body’s energy”, said Johns Hopkins’ neurologist Barry Gordon.

Where the myth came from?

It may have started from William James’ words in The Energies of Men (1908), “we are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources”. Later on, Karl Lashley studied the brains of rats where he removed portions of cerebral cortex and the rats can perform specific tasks like nothing happened. So people would be thinking, we won’t need most of it.

The more interesting claim is human’s potential psychic abilities. It is indulging to believe that there’s even more we could do, perhaps have a super memory or heroic capabilities.

The more appropriate claim is we only know 10% of our brain. That 10% are neurons, and the rest of the brain is supporting glial cells. There is still a broad spread of exploration to know what glial cells are for.

But the science community is not backing off to know more. In a way, you could buy Einstein’s brain via an iPad app. $9.99 gives anyone access to images of the genius’ brain cut into 350 slides, hoping to spark another knowledge to his brain apart from knowing that his parietal lobe (processing of mathematics, language, and spatial understanding) is wider than normal.

Is this too much to take from the man who already contributed so much to our comprehension? The man who wished for his body to be cremated?

As long as the person is dead, it seems, his voice will not matter. Jacopo Annese of the University of California “predicts that there will be another Einstein, and when that individual dies, we’ll be prepared (we’re hanging on for that 3D-mapped interactive specimen)” (Wired UK).

Do you believe that nothing should hamper the search for knowledge?

Do People Only Use 10 Percent Of Their Brains?; Scientific American
Do We Use Only 10% of Our Brains?;
Einstein’s Brain Goes Digital With iPad App; Wired UK