Do We Really Use only 10% of our Brains?

How much of the brain do we employ and how much remains unused? What would happen if we could release the full potential of our brains?

lucyLucy is a film directed by Luc Besson in 2014. It stars Scarlett Johansson as a heroine who ingests drugs that dramatically improve her mental capacity. Morgan Freeman plays Professor Norman who states, ‘It is estimated that humans use only 10% of the capacity of their brains. Imagine if we could access 100%’

Limitless is a 2011 movie starring Bradley Cooper which is based on exactly the same premise.

Would it not be wonderful if we could dramatically improve our intelligence by unleashing this unused potential? Unfortunately for movie makers, motivational speakers and amateur psychologists worldwide there is no evidence that we use only 10% of our brains.

Neurologist Barry Gordon says, “We use virtually every part of the brain, and most of the brain is active almost all the time.” The scientific evidence is very strong. Brain scans show all the areas of the brain areas are active while we are awake. There is no part of the brain that is not functioning.

If most of the brain is unused then damage to those parts should have little effect. But studies of brain damage show that injury to any part of the brain has deleterious consequences.

So what is the origin of the myth? It is probably based on the work of American psychologist William James at the end of the 19th century. He said that he believed that most people did not achieve more than 10% of their intellectual potential. He did not refer to brain function or capacity. However, many amateur psychologists and self-help proponents seized on the concept and changed it into a supposed statement of fact which held out the prospect of getting an extra nine fold performance from our brains.

When you consider that nearly all of us could learn how to play a musical instrument or how to speak another language it is clear that we are operating well within our intellectual potential. Once we have mastered a set of common communication and thinking skills we tend to stick with them. If we want to significantly increase our intellectual prowess the answer lies in hard work, exercise and training. Unfortunately we cannot turn to some magical drug or secret formula to effortlessly activate the rest of the brain.

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2 thoughts on “Do We Really Use only 10% of our Brains?

  1. When scientists say 10% of brain we humans usedd, they did not probably mean human physical/tangible brain parts and their biological/neuro/electrical/ other brain functions.. these are used to make normal functioning of human…

    Its 10% of MIND potential that is being discussed think. And yes we dont use our MIND to its full limitless potential at all.! Even if 10% is used human race would have been somewhere else today… MIND is the greatest gift of God given to humans… no other species has that and yet we dont use our MINDs for the purpose it was given… MIND is beyond brain… MIND is beyong thoughts,MIND is beyong counscious and unconscious part of brain .. MIND is limitless. I am proud and grateful i was belong to my country India , i was born and brought up here- that has given me opportunity to adopt mind techniques from our ancient times, Eastern world has understood the MIND concept and potential… I share that though MIND is situated in brain, they are too different things and cannot be comprehended by scientific community also. MIND transcends brain and even human body.. Yes, cultivate and develop your MIND… ITS SO VERY POWERFUL THAT WHEN YOU KNOW HOW TO USE ITS POTENTIAL , UNIVERSE MIGHTY POWERS @ your support- Such individual who has known his/her mind have everything in the world they want..its experiential learning and cannot be explained so very easily…and experiential knowledge more impactful than written theories- no scientist can write unless he or she experiences himself/herself.. i have started on undertanding the fascinating worlf of mind … baby steps.. long way to go, but can share with those interested to know more can reach smisb11@gmail.com

  2. This is where cognitive fixedness does not differentiate between 10 % capacity or capability. A serious difference not semantics. Just as loose reference to any issue being called a problem when 90% of what we refer to as problems are merely situations. The difference is huge. A situation is easier on the mind because it is to be overcome. Hence one focuses on use of existing resources. A problem is to be solved and usually the brain seeks external help … We reduce self sufficiency when we say problem and then we read that most only use less than 10%. We further reduce our capabilities

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