According to popular belief, the average human only uses about 10 percent of their brain’s total power.
So many people subscribe to this myth that there are plenty of books, presentations and reports that all illustrate our inability to utilize the entirety of the human mind. There are some who would even attribute their personal shortcomings and failures to this interesting statistic.
However, it simply isn’t true.
Some Real Statistics to Consider
Barry Gordon, a neurologist with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has noted that the average brain weighs about three pounds. While this only accounts for approximately three percent of one’s total bodyweight, this organ consumes approximately 20 percent of your daily energy allotment.
Moreover, various scientific studies have concluded that the majority of the human brain remains in a state of constant activity. While there are certain regions that might “turn themselves off” now and then, reports indicate that the average human actually uses 100 percent of their brain over the course of any given day.
Natural Selection at Work
Remember the concept of natural selection? Studied extensively in even the most basic of biology classes, natural selection dictates any evolution, mutations or genetic characteristics that affect any living species of animal. This naturally includes humans. Those who tout natural selection will be quick to point out that the human brain is susceptible to these modifications and alterations over time, just like our other organs.
If the myth of only using 10 percent of our brainpower were true, natural selection would have eliminated the remaining 90 percent a long time ago. In addition, certain diseases and injuries, which can lead to the loss of less than 90 percent of one’s brainpower, can have devastating consequences that can be seen, recorded and measured.
With these things in mind, it’s safe to say that a human who only used 10 percent of their brain would be as close to a non-functioning or non-sentient being as one could get.
Enjoying the Silence
Those who back up the myth are quick to point out that the brain maintains numerous areas that are, for the most part, completely silent. Modern medical technology has debunked this claim, instead revealing that many of these regions are really in a state of constant activity. They’re also used in decision-making, day-to-day planning and our ability to reason.
Further studies into these silent areas have also revealed that as many as 16 percent of the human brain’s cells are active at any given time. Considering this doesn’t even account for those which are engaged in brain-strengthening activities or mental exercises, it’s safe to say that the average person uses far more than 10 percent of their brain, every single day.
Tracking the Myth’s Origin
There’s been some disagreement about the origin of the myth that humans only use 10 percent of their brainpower. While some trace its roots back to the earliest discussions in the field of phrenology, others attribute to the misconception to psychologist William James, anthropologist Margaret Mead and, in some cases, to Albert Einstein himself. Despite the fact that it’s blatantly untrue, the rumor has persisted for well over 100 years.
Realizing Our Maximum Potential
Although the fact that we use 100 percent of our brain’s power on an average day may be counterintuitive for some, it’s nice to know that our bodies are capable of harnessing the capabilities of our minds. We’re much more likely to reach our full potential when we don’t have to worry about completely imaginary bottlenecks within the human brain.