How Much of Your Brain Do You REALLY Use?
A Closer Look
Two Brain EXPERTS tell you what is watt in their new book
"Facts, myths and useful tips about your brain- Welcome To Your Brain"
An alternative look at one claim in "Welcome To Your Brain"
from "brain authorities" Sandra Aamode and Sam Wang (Ph.D)
I applaud any efforts by anyone, professional or otherwise, to bring clarity to the table in regards to the most important organ in our body-- our brain---
But let us not confuse promotional slogans or ideas used to promote commercial enterprises, such as a new brain book, from readily observable facts, rational thought, and common sense...
In their blog and press releases, these authors boldly assert (such as in the Publisher's Weekly Review): "Welcome To Your Brain...Neuroscientists Aamodt, editor-in-chief of Nature Neuroscience, and Wang, of Princeton University....tackle such potentially controversial topics as whether men and women have different brains...and whether intelligence is shaped more by genes or environment....Distinguishing their book are sidebars that explode myths—no, we do not use only 10% of our brain's potential but nearly all of it..."
This myth busting claim to fame is again touted in a recent radio appearance:
"Neuroscientist Dr. Sam Wang discussed the human brain and how it's wired to experience various phenomena. Made of 3 lbs. of tissue with 100 billion neurons, the brain acts as an information processing device and filter. The truth is, we use all parts of our brain, not just 10% of it (a myth propagated by Dale Carnegie), he noted. "
Turns out, if you actually examine Dr. Wang's claim about how much brain you probably use-- you discover that Dale Carnegie was actually much closer to the real truth.
Mr. Wang states makes the incorrect assumption: "our brain always runs on 12 watts" as proof of 100% use of one's neural capacity. (Coast To Coast AM, Feb. 2008) This is no more true than saying every 12 watt appliance does equal work, or that every 12 watt appliance works at 100% efficiency.
In fact, you can have a 12 watt appliance that draws current, broken or not, and that does absolute ZERO amount of work, and merely overheats and sits there useless.
Any machine can do zero work, or all it's potential work-- all while drawing the same current. Current draw is meaningless in relation to work done, not only within one structure, but across structures using the same current.
I am sure many of us have several of these examples in our homes right now, or perhaps on top of someone's shoulder's that we know.
I have a 650 watt computer, that at times does absolutely NOTHING with all that energy, as I am sure most of us have seen. When this machine is brought to a dead halt by a faulty program or virus, are we bold enough to proclaim--
"My computer is using 100% of it's potential- cause it's using the same amount of watts it did when it was actually doing something!!"
If we use 100% of our brain-- does this imply that we use all of our neural connections all of the time, simultaneously? That's what 100% would require.
I can't think of a SINGLE THING that works at 100% capacity or near this, except perhaps my ice cube tray.
If so, one would never observe brain activity variation seen clearly in PET and functional MRI-- you can't have fluctuation in activity and state "100% use (or nearly) all the time"-- at the same time.
Further, these scans themselves only indicate general activity-- and they say nothing about potential fulfilled.
Do you use 100% of your car? Always drive at 120MPH with a fully packed trunk and full tank of gas and six passengers? 100% of your muscles? Always running at full speed carrying 100 pounds of weight around your neck?
"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.
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.
To say that we use all of our brain, would be like saying Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Firigno even when at the height of their training, or as they were growing, they were using every single muscle and fiber in their body to full capacity-- 24 hours a day, every second of every day.
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 or Ford; 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, including hauling sacks of carrots and turnips on your roof at the same time you get ice cream and gas at 7-11, and pick up a couple of hitchhikers on the way.
WHAT EXACTLY IS 100% ?!? What is "ALL OF YOUR BRAIN" even mean?
Is there even such a thing??? Especially when measuring of all things, brain potential?
The mere suggestion that you can even approach using "all of your brain, or nearly so" is at the most elementary level completely absurd, if not downright depressing!
To say that we use all of our brain ignores the fact that you keep losing your car keys all the time, even though its perfectly possible to train yourself- within your potential unfulfilled- to methodically hang them in the same place every time you walk in the front door.
Are we SO BUSY with other things that we can make new good habits and break old bad ones--?
Can we not write a book, compose a symphony, learn to play golf--- because 100% of our brain is being used watching Good Morning America?
That would be sad.
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.
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.
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's a reptile brain on-upmanship thing. It's the old "I am smarter than you, because plain old folk without a DIPLOMA IN BRAIN SCIENCE have this saying--- and plain old folk can't be right. Let me tell you how it really is.... "
"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.
We no more use all or nearly all of our brain as do millions of couch potatoes use all of their muscles sitting in front of the boob tube six hours a day.
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.
And YET ANOTHER ANALOGY about How Much Brain We Use:
Two Gardens, Two Gardeners.
Each is given 50 packets of flower and vegetable seeds.
Each is given a 1/3 acre plot of ground, and a shovel, and access to
Gardener A opens his seed packets and scatters all the seeds evenly
over the entire plot without deep tilling the soil, without burying
the seeds to the
optimum depth for each.
Gardener B isolates the seeds, combines planting of symbiotic species
(marigolds next to tomatoes for example), plants each seed at the
Gardener A walks away and leaves watering to mother nature.
Gardener B monitors the weather, and irrigates the garden for optimum
watering for each planted area as needed.
Gardener A never pulls the competitive weeds.
Gardener B carefully weeds the garden so the desired plants have
access to the soil, light, and nutrients.
Garden A yields few flowers and vegetables, and many weeds.
Garden B yields twenty times the number of desired flowers, vegetables.
Both garden plots are fully used.
Both Gardener A and Gardener B use
100% of their gardens.
Both garden plots are covered with seeds, and have plants growing--
yet: equally, Gardener A in practical use, used a fraction of his
garden, since area was taken over my weed plants, and failed to make
use of available light and nutrients.
In reality, Gardener A used far less of his garden than Gardener B.
Indeed, HOW one uses one's available space truly determines HOW MUCH one is using.
It's not just a question of an observation of superficial volume at use.
The notion that current draw (a constant 12 watts) somehow reflects total and normal brain function, much less fulfilling available brain potential-- is downright ridiculous.
It's like saying everybody is assigned and uses 12 packs of seeds in their garden, so everybody is using 100% of their seed potential.
What is more important, and probably more relevant, is why someone would try so hard to disprove a sensible notion such as "we don't approach our full brain potential, we only use 10% of our brain"--- a clearly useful METAPHOR, as well as a reasonable reflection of our cultural lack of imagination, rational intellect, and, need to conform to conventional wisdom and dependence on old ideas.
I.e.-- we really don't use our brains as they could be used, but rather vegetate and blindly watch TV and follow charismatic authority figures and swallow ideas whole without really chewing them up, digesting them, or alternatively spitting out those that are indigestible in the first place.
What is at the root of the issue of "how much brain do we use" is not wattage, or that "we use all parts of our brain"-- but rather, how are the neurons connected? Why can one person with the same brain volume as another solve a puzzle, while another remains clueless?
Mr. Wang himself tells us that people now do better on IQ tests at the end of the 20th Century than they did at the end of the 19th Century.
The problem with this observation, is that it directly contradicts his statement that we use 100% of our brain--
I don't think there is any evidence that Joe Smith born in 1980 was born with a bigger brain than Frank Brown born in 1880.
And if they were both using 100% of their brain, how does one explain better brain function in the year 2000?
And to all the "experts" who feel they know more than you or I because they have a framed piece of paper hanging on their office wall----
I learned my lesson about not bowing down and falling over and relinquishing my judgment in the presence of "EXPERTS" last year after falling down my basement stairs and rupturing a couple of discs in my spine.
I duly went to my local resident spinal surgeon, complete with 2000 square feet of office space, two million dollars of x-ray equipment, 5 receptionists, and 10 diplomas proudly displayed on his wall. He declared me permanently injured, and requiring of nothing less than removal of portions of my vertebrae to remove a disc, replace it with a titanium spacer, and then fusion of several vertebrae with titanium rods.
He then said I would certainly further need future spinal surgery in a few years.
I then actually used MORE brain power than this expert, and walked out of his office never to return, if more brain power means not spending $50,000 on a very risky and needless surgery.
A year later, without any surgery whatsoever, I am completely healed and have totally normal spinal function and movement.
Beware the experts who "KNOW" everything--- they may not.
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Your Amazing Brain Adventure is a web site all about Tickling Your Amygdala- i.e. turning on the best part of your brain as easy as clicking on a light switch. This is done as easily as imagining a feather inside of your head stimulating a compass, the amygdala. The amygdala is a set of twin organs, a part of your brain that sits right in between the most advance part of your brain- the frontal lobes and pre-frontal cortex- and the most primitive part of your brain- your "reptile brain" and brain stem. By tickling your amygdala you instantly and directly increase creativity, intelligence, pleasure, and also make possible a spontaneous natural processes known as "paranormal abilities", although such things as telepathy and ESP are really as natural as breathing, or as easy doing simple math in your head. The ability to self stimulate the amygdala by something as simple as thought has been proven in laboratory experiments, such as those conducted at Harvard University research labs, 1999-2009, and can be tracked with modern brain scanning machines such as fMRI and PET... Indeed, thought is faster than light.
Other sites of interest:
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Easy Make A Kindle and Your Own Publishing are sites about self-publishing and writing, and how any person can publish materials, print, online, and electronic books. You can drop out of the corporate slave labor rat race and own your own life by writing and distributing your own books on the subject that you know best.
InkJetHelper.com is a web site about escaping from the ridiculous cost of ink jet printer ink refilling- and refilling your printer for pennies instead of $70 a shot. It also has useful tips about maintaining ink jet printers, especially Canon brand printers.
Julia Lu Painting is all about the creative works of Chinese painter Julia Lu, a modern master of oil and water color painting. Julia shares her creative secrets, ideas, as well as her art work.
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