Educators

Brain Myth -- You Only Use 10 Percent of Your Brain

This myth is probably one of the most well-known myths about the brain. Famous people such as Albert Einstein have been quoted as stating a variation of it, and it has been publicized in the media for years.

So where did this idea originally come from? No one knows for sure, but many sources mention William James, an American psychologist who wrote in 1908: "We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources" (from The Energies of Men). Through the years, this quote may have been transformed into the saying that we only using 10 percent of our brain.

What data were used to come up with the number 10%? Does this mean that you would be fine if 90% of your brain was removed? It is well known that damage to a relatively small area of the brain, such as that caused by a stroke, may cause devastating disabilities.

So the 10% myth is NOT true. Brain scans have shown that no matter what we're doing, our brains are always active. In addition to billions of neurons, the brain is also full of other types of cells that are continually in use. Some areas of the brain are more active at any one time than others, but unless a person suffers brain injury, there is no one part of the brain that is absolutely not functioning. The truth is that we use 100% of our brains!

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