Friday, July 8, 2011

The 10% Brain Power Myth.....Or Truth?!

I have heard numerous beliefs that I immediately deem myths due to their sheer impossibility, but there are still a few common sayings that truthfully, up until this course I was unsure whether they may be true. The 10% brain myth was one that I could not deem false without the knowledge from this course. Now I not only understand why it is indeed false, but why I believed it was true!

The 10% brain myth is a belief that humans can only naturally tap into 10% of their brain power. With extensive training or unusual power, however, one may be able to break the barrier and gain supernatural powers such as psychokinesis. If only 10% of the brain is used, though, what is happening to the other 90%?

The myth is proven false due to the proven fact that if a part of the brain is not used or developed it begins to atrophy. Evidence has been seen in children that were neglected early in life. The early years are a crucial period in a child's life, in which their brain requires extensive stimulation. Children must be offered tools to expand each area of brain development. The areas that are neglected consequently deteriorate and may never fully recover to achieve their full potential. These effects can be correlated to the 10% theory. If 90% of the brain was not used wouldn't it undergo similar degeneration?

The myth is again disproven due to knowledge of how the human brain is built and wired. The brain would need to be holistically built if the 10% theory could even be proven a possibility. The brain, however, is built in sections, such as language areas, sight areas etc. Each part of the brain has its own responsibility. This is why stroke victims lose specific abilities such as speaking after a stroke; the blood clot caused death to that specific area. If the brain were holistically wired, the part of the brain not affected would simply compensate; unfortunately, we know this does not happen. If it was true that 90% of the human brain was not used on a daily basis, humans would lose almost all of their abilities that are based in that area of the brain.

Why do people hold onto the belief that we only use 10% of our brain capacity? I believe that people want to hold out hope that they have power beyond measure, that they can tap into with training. "People have a desire to be more talented, influential, and prosperous". We want to believe that our full capabilities are not yet reached.

Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal

1 comment:

  1. Good article. The movie 'Lucy' (along with other pop media using this claim) is sparking this debate more and making people think about this issue. People selling something "amazing" based on this claim are still constantly invoking this claim. The aplogetics for it now is that the 10% myth isn't really a myth, but a "misunderstanding" of glial cells, "potentials" vs. "capacity". There is always a new excuse for pseudoscience like this.