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beautifulbobby193's avatar

Has it been proved (and if so, how?) that humans only use a small percentage of their brain power?

Asked by beautifulbobby193 (1694points) April 27th, 2010

And does this percentage vary significantly from person to person? Could we get to a point in science/medicine where we can increase the amount of the brain being used far beyond what we currently know now, and what additional benefits could this result in?

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13 Answers

marinelife's avatar

“Though an alluring idea, the “10 percent myth” is so wrong it is almost laughable, says neurologist Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.”

”“It turns out though, that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time,” Gordon adds. “Let’s put it this way: the brain represents three percent of the body’s weight and uses 20 percent of the body’s energy.””

”“Evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain,” says John Henley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. ”

Scientific American

cazzie's avatar

yes… Myth. Like most things… ‘Is more complicated than that.’

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Ah yes, the Lindsay Lohan law.

sevenfourteen's avatar

Although as @marinelife has quoted we do use all of our brain throughout the day, I believe that various human experiences prove that perhaps we have untapped potential that we can’t quite harness.

I mean how do you explain thinking about a friend you haven’t heard from in years and within days (and in some cases hours) they call you/someone brings them up? Maybe an event triggered you to think about them but in some cases this event could be a dream which starts in your mind. Why can some people sense the loss of a friend/family member before anyone actually informs them of the loss? You could find scientific evidence to prove why all of these things happen but how do you explain things like monks being able to control their heart rate and body temperature through meditation?? I think that the amount of brain power you can use depends on how much you try to use but I doubt there is actually science willing to invest in this idea

johnny0313x's avatar

Do less intelligent people use a smaller % of their brain then smart people…or are they just lazy?

ChaosCross's avatar

Logically a rather lame assumption.

Because different parts of your brain have different areas of thought (i.e. food, moter skills, mathmatical concepts etc.) than these are the things an average person uses at least once a day, meaning you would use 100% of your brain.


Bugabear's avatar

I read somewhere that the rest of your brain is being used to “predict the future”. What that means is the rest of your brain is being used to predict what would happen and generate possible actions for it. If we didn’t have this every time something happen it would be like when somebody asks you a question and you don’t know the answer.

sevenfourteen's avatar

@ChaosCross—than- then
apparently grammer didn’t win the day

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The myth arises from estimates of the potential for humans to use much more of their potential brain power than we habitually use. In an analogy with our muscles, it has been estimated that with practice and persistent effort, we humans could do more with our brain power than we do. The 10% utilization myth is an overstatement of that viewpoint.

As with our physical fitness, most of us don’t develop our brains to their fullest potential. It’s hard work and we are prone to laziness and staying within our comfort zone.

Kodewrita's avatar

I would prefer to interpret it differently. I believe we can all do more than we are @ the moment but we never put any effort towards learning how to get the best from our brains.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Kodewrita I find your view accurate but perhaps somewhat too pessimistic.

There are many academics and researchers I have known or have known of who strive to use all of their energy and intellect to solve real and theoretical problems that hold the potential to make life better for so many of us.

Yes there are far too many people too lazy to read anything scholarly or well researched.

They are even more who make no effort to read quality literature.

There are more still who resist reading anything printed in any book or periodical.

There are too many who absorb what passes for fact with no critical analysis or evaluation or alternate points of view. These obtain their facts from those expressed on television opinion shows or from movies.

Yet nearly everyone routinely pronounces their opinions on complex matters than could profoundly affect the quality of life for large numbers of people, despite little or no knowledge of the subject or analysis of the many aspects of the problem.

Perhaps the most amazing thing is that I am not as pessimistic as you!

Kodewrita's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I guess my reply was quite extreme. But its a fact that most people in the world would rather live without pushing the envelope while some are extreme test pilots.

We all source information from media to a certain extent. what makes a difference is our analysis of the obtained information.

I feel you can only achieve that degree of performance if you focus on all the brain has to offer instead of intelligence alone. Stuff like memory,rational thought, visualisation, empathy e.t.c

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