Chapter 3.1 10% Myth
Many times I have heard people say that most persons only use about 10 percent of their brains. If a person is able to use more than that percentage than they most likely have extraordinary talents or abilities that others do not have. If a person could somehow train themselves to access their brain's functions beyond the percent then they could develop extraordinary abilities that they have heard about, such as clairvoyance.
In our assigned reading, there is no clear history of how this myth was created. There is a line from a self improvement book that reads: "Professor William James of Harvard used to say that the average man develops only 10 percent of his latent mental ability. Dale Carnegie, by helping business men and women to develop their latent possibilities, has created one of the most significant movements in adult education." Latent means that something is present, such as our brain, but not active, such as our inaccessible abilities. To me, this statement means that most people do not attempt to develop their latent possibilities, but with the motivation they find through education they will be able to develop more than they could have on their own. It is possible there are some people who will never bother to develop their latent abilities beyond 10 percent. However, I believe most people, especially those enrolled in higher education, have already surpassed that 10 percent threshold. Also, considering the fact that this quote was written in 1956 I believe that the 'average man' currently has a higher percentage of developed latent ability than was previously believed.
There are so many areas of the brain with different functions and even today they are all still being mapped out. Since 1956 we have discovered that some parts of the brain have more than one function and other parts work together to make functions. We know for a fact we use every single part of our brain, even if we don't yet know for which functions. For each function we perform we most likely use only up to 10 percent of our brain because that's all we need. If we were to use any more than what we need then it would be pointless because the area of the brain that is in use wouldn't assist in the function that is being performed. I believe we use all percentage of our brain, but possibly no more than just 10 percent at one time. This myth seems ridiculous once you look a map of a brain. It also seems absurd for any person to claim that their extraordinary abilities such as clairvoyance are due to being able to access more than 10 percent of their latent possibilities because there has been no research showing that they use any more percentage of their brain than does anyone else. Below is a picture labeling all the function areas of the brain we currently know. Everyone uses every function and 100 percent of their brain throughout their lifetime unless otherwise damaged.
The 10 percent myth remains unproven whether is is meant physically or as a development of oneself as Professor William James made it seem.