There is an urban myth that we only use 10% of our brain, and that those who are smarter actually are able to tap into more of their brains than most people.

Today’s researchers, who have access to the latest technologies in order to map the brain activity, have found that we use virtually every part of our brains, and most of it is active all the time, according to Johns Hopkins University neurologist Barry Gordon. The fact is, we use all of our brains at some point for different activities – there are no dormant areas just waiting for a spark to light them up.

As science journalist Christopher Wanjek puts it in his 2005 book “Bad Medicine,” if we only use 10% of our brain, why would we be allowed to develop the 90%? The average brain weighs only 3 pounds, which amounts to approximately 5% of our body weight. It consumes 20% of the oxygen we take in, and demands a continuous supply of oxygen and glucose in order to work properly. That is not to mention that chemicals, neurons and other supplies that it utilizes each day.

There doesn’t seem to be any portion of the brain that a person can lose – through brain injury or disease, that will not have some type of catastrophic effect and loss of some function. Wanjek explains: “A person would be comatose if 90 percent of the brain — any 90 percent — were inactive”

What is true is that different parts of the brain perform different functions, and they don’t all work at the same time. Brain scans have shown, however, that during a 24-hour period of time the entire brain is usually getting a pretty good workout. Even when we sleep there are parts of our frontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls higher-level thinking, self-awareness and your somatosensory areas that help you to sense your surroundings remain active.

We have heard that brilliant people, such as Albert Einstein, use more of their brains than others. That too is not true. After Einstein died his brain was autopsied and it was found to be a bit smaller than the average brain, but there were parts of it that were larger. Research has found that our brains make new connections as we learn, and due to the immense amount of learning Einstein did all the time, he probably was simply building a massive amount of synapse (connections) that worked overtime.

What does this tell us then? If we continue to learn we build new connections and put our brains to work to build more. If we don’t challenge ourselves we won’t build those extra synapse, and probably not reach our true potential.




Discovery, Fit & Health – You Only Use 10 Percent of Your Brain:

Discovery, Fit & Health – Activity in the Brain: