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"It is a myth that we only use 10% of our human brain."


It is common to hear this statement, alarmingly even from a few people who label themselves as "scientific" or as researchers.

In actuality, such a comment as above, is more misleading itself than the so-called myth of unused brain potential. 


You no more use 90% of your brain potential than you use 90% of your muscle potential all of the time. 

To say that we use all of our brain, would be like saying Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Firigno had as 90 pound teenagers reached the pinnacle of their muscular development.

You no more use all of your brain all of the time than you use 100% of your lung capacity sitting at your computer keyboard.

You no more use all of your brain all of the time than you use all of your car all of the time; that you always drive at the full potential of your Honda; that you always drive at the top speed of your car; that your trunk and seats are always filled to capacity; that you have even figured out and daily employ every single way in which you could use your car.


To say that we use all of our brain ignores the fact that you keep losing your car keys all the time.

To say that we use all of our brain ignores the fact that you couldn't remember where you left your car in the parking garage- even though this is well within your brain potential.

Sir John Eccles has stated his feelings on the infinite potential of the human brain, and he won the Noble prize.

Such a statement that "We use all of our brain all of the time" or "It is a myth that we only use 10% of our brain" are both misleading and unhelpful uninspiring skeptical crumbs with barely a grain of truth- As well as not even being accurate statements regarding usage of the human brain.


Humans have an unlimited capacity to learn. Unlike computers, no human brain has ever said: "Hard drive full."

A simple look at brain scans will show us that the brain modulates dramatically from one moment to the next in regards to its activity and usage. Here it is then, on the screen of Functional MRI machines and Pet scans, incontrovertible evidence that we do not use all of our brain all of the time.

It is particularly ironic that scientists have their own brand of tunnel vision when it supports their enthusiastic myth busting, but that their own reality tunnel fails to recognize the contradiction of their evidence when it disproves their own claims.  Typical of such myth-busting can be found on page 6 of Sam Wang's (Ph.D) Welcome To Your Brain, where he argues that " use your whole brain every day...". But Wang conveniently contradicts himself repeatedly throughout his book to blow apart his own claim. For example on page 172, where he informs us that the activity of the amygdala can vary from one moment to the next, as "increased" activity. How can one possibly increase whole brain usage?

Wang's own book repeatedly relies on evidence from functional brain scans that contrast active parts of the brain against in-active regions, and he even gives evidence that our perception can be faulty and short-sighted. This of course is true until such blind-sightedness is pointed out to us, when we can then see what was invisible to us moments before.


Hold on- is he telling us we can miss seeing something one moment, and then discover it the next? That's a neat trick from a brain that is being used 100%!  This particular "hole" in our perception is actually illustrated in the paragraph immediately preceding  his dogmatic 10% brain myth-busting.

How can you have increase activity of ANY part of the brain if all of it is being used all of the time? Such a notion is so absurd that any person even without any knowledge of the neurophysiology of the brain correctly intuits that we can GAIN experience and knowledge .

On the simplest level, how could a human learn anything if we have tapped out the full potential of our brain?

Without question, the brain has the ability to grow. Of course, this is contrary to the former "scientific" observation that prevailed for most of the 20th century: You are born with as much brain as you would ever have, and that it was a downhill slide throughout your life.

The ability for your brain to grow, however, does not dismiss the notion that you are then using all of the brain you may already have as already indicated previously.


Wang and others so enthusiastic to jump on the  10% myth-busting wagon also are conveniently blind to all of the cases that show little or no diminished function of the brain when large portions of the brain are damaged, or removed- such as occurs with a procedure known as hemispherctomy: 

If the skeptics myth-busting perspective was true, this would obviously result in losing fully 50% of one's brain function.

Except, that ain't what happens.

In their article on the subject of this radical surgery, Scientific American states, "Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically"

That's pretty incredible for kids who now have half a motor that drives them around faster than a whole motor.

The same evidence that severely puts the "whole brain all the time" notion to the test, are many severe cases of encephalitis, where massive parts of the cerebrum are dissolved by cerebral spinal fluid- and yet intellect and intelligence may remain within normal bounds (Dandy Walker complex):

If the whole brain is being used all the time, how does a person with just 10% of his brain continue to function normally?


To say "We use all of our brain all of the time" says nothing about the potential of human intelligence, creativity, and problem solving. Such a skeptical rebuttal of the vast potential of the human think machine implies that we have reached our limits of brain potential- probably the most harmful dead end notion of all. We haven't even gotten close.

I think the real lesson here is "beware of experts and their conclusions".


Our frontal lobes have been culturally and socially lobotomized. At this stage of evolution, we are simply still Apes With Pencils.

That's actually very good news.


Why do some  such "experts" delight it saying "It is a MYTH that we only use 10% of our brain." ?

It's the old, "I know more than YOU Game. It's an ego thing. It is a failure to engage a more accurate perspective of brain potential, itself a result of competitive consciousness-  a reptile brain on-upmanship thing, "I am the Brain Knowledge King Of The Hill". It's the old "You are stupid and I am smart by comparison thing." Skeptics LOVE telling people they are wrong. It makes them feel superior. It is a sin of omission, as as often as not, such people making this contrary statement do not really let us know the whole story.

"It is a myth that you only use 10% of your brain" is no more helpful and informative than saying, "The moon is not made of green cheese". It tells us very little, indeed.


So, as it turns out, to say that "We only use 10% of our brain, only 10% of our brain potential"- this is actually an infinitely optimistic, as well as a considerably reasonable and thoughtful perspective of the possibilities that reside inside our craniums.

It is a helpful generalization and observation by and for the lay person, and although not literally precise, it reflects upon the reality that owners of a human think box have an enormous mental potential from which to draw, from which we as individuals and as a human culture, often as not, ignore.

Research Report
Dormancy of the Human Brain
Dormant Brain Research and Development Laboratory
T.D.A. Lingo, Director

The human brain is only 10% functional, at best.
The first to outline this theory, later proved a fact by others, was Australian Neurology Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles. (Lecture: University of Colorado, University Memorial Center Boulder, July 31, 1974.) "The brain indicates its powers are endless."

In England, John Lorber did autopsies on hydrocephalics. This illness causes all but the 1/6th inch layer of brain tissue to be dissolved by acidic spinal fluid. He tested the IQ's of patients before and during the disease. His findings showed that IQ remained constant up to death. Although over 90% of brain tissue was destroyed by the disease, it had no impact on what we consider to be normal intelligence.

Russian neurosurgeon Alexandre Luria proved that the 1/3 bulk of frontal lobes are mostly dormant. He did this by performing ablation experiments on persons. He gave physiological and psychological tests before, cut out parts and whole frontal lobes, the re-tested after. His conclusion: removal of part or all of frontal lobes causes no major change in brain function, (some change in mood alteration). The frontal lobes are mostly dormant, asleep. (Luria, A.R. "Frontal Lobes and the Regulation of Behavior." In: K.H. Pribram and A.R. Luria, Editors, Psychophysiology of the Frontal Lobes. New York, and London, Academic Press, 1973)

Finally, the human brain contains 10 billion neurons, mostly in the outer layer of brain cortex. the function of these currently dominant cells is fairly clear. but the brain also contains 120 billion glial cells. Aside from some secondary nurturing of neurons, the primary function of the glia is not clear. What big bang mirical awaits mankind within these mysteries?

Today, most would agree without argument that the potential of the human brain is infinite. Thus, to state that a person uses 10%, 5%, or even 1% of their potential brain capacity (infinity) is overly generous.

The point is this: There is no dispute among honestly rational experts about the latent potential of the human think box. There is only friendly dispute about how much and what still awaits us, patiently to be self-discovered between each set of ears. Hence, the wisdom of intuitive folksay was correct: "The human brain is only 10% functional." John Eccles thinks that number is too high. "How can you calculate a percentage of infinity?"


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