What proportion of the brain are we using?

It is commonly believed by people that humans, even famous scientists, use 10% of their brains. Is it actually true? After watching the “Lucy”, film about the woman who uses 100% of her brain and, thus, transforms into the supernatural energy, I decided to research this topic deeply and share my findings with you. In this article, different ideas surrounding the topic and their stemming places will be thoroughly discussed and, then, analyzed to find which of them is sounding scientifically true.

Nearly 70% of Americans believe that humans are capable of using only 10% of their brains. There are a lot of reasons why people believe in this idea which is generally regarded as “myth” by scientists. In my opinion, the first valid reason is the psychology of people. They tend to persuade them that it is possible to activate the remaining 90% of the brain which would ultimately result in much more prosperous career. This idea gives them the power to work harder and harder. However, there are also some scientific resources people often refer to when explaining why they come to this point of view. In one section of the article published in Science journal in 1907, psychologist William James pointed out that humans are using a little percentage of their mental resources. Additionally, it is clearly evident that TV shows, films, and other popular culture products are thought to state the “myth of 10% activity a lot which is quite an effective factor contributing to people`s thoughts on this issue.  On the other hand, a significantly large group of scientists are sure about the fact humans use their brain with 100% activity. Throughout the next paragraph, I will try to mention the counterarguments of the scientists and why they think these arguments are truly reliable and persuasive.

First and foremost, it is required to clarify 10% of which is going to be discussed. If we are talking about the areas of the brain, it is so easy to counter the given claim using new technological advancements. One of the main ways utilized to scan brain, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) allows scientists to examine brain activity of humans on the daily basis. As a result, it is determined that humans use all regions of their brains during daily actions, even eating, breathing or sleeping.  But what if this 10% is the indication of the neurons used? Again, it is not reliable assumption. The brain, the most complex part of the body, cannot properly function with the neurons activating separately. Besides the ones which degenerate and form colonized areas, majority of neurons are used by humans while being subject to any action.

Considering all these, I should say that, actually, we are using our brains fully. Probably, a lot of people would be discouraged by my last sentence because they want to believe in the possibility of increasing their mental ability. Using brain fully does not mean that it is not possible to be much better mentally. Despite the fact that we are utilizing our mental capacity fully, it is still quite possible to increase that capacity with the help of doing repetitive tasks related to the specific topics. But do not forget, whatever your mental capacity is, you are using 100% of it.

1) Claudia Hammond, Do we only use 10 percent of our brains?, BBC Future, 2012
2) Daniel Murrell, What percentage of our brain do we use?, MedicalNews,2018
3) Robynne Boyd, Do People only use 10 percent of their brains? What is the matter with only exploiting a portion of our gray matter?, AmericanScience, 2008

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