The human brain is the command center for our entire body.
It controls nearly every aspect of who we are and how we function, from our senses to our emotions and everything in between.
While much of what we know about the brain is based on scientific evidence, there are also a number of myths and misconceptions that circulate about it.
These neuromyths can be harmful because they can lead people to believe things that aren’t true about their brains and how they work.
Some of the most common neuromyths include:
– Right-brain learners and left-brain learners
– Critical periods of learning – can’t teach an old dog new tricks
– We’re born with a certain amount of intelligence that can’t improve
– Learning languages at a young age is easier
– The brain shuts down when we sleep
– We only use 10% of our brains
The last myth, about how much of our brains we use, is one of the most common neuromyths out there. It suggests that most of our brains are inactive, useless, or dormant. This idea has been highlighted in movies, TV shows, and even video games.
However, this myth has no scientific basis.
We Use Every Part of Our Brains
The brain is fully active and constantly working to help us engage with the world.
Countless brain imaging studies have demonstrated that every part of the brain is active and involved in various functions. Even if we don’t fully understand each little bit’s function, we know that every part serves a purpose.
There isn’t any piece of the brain that can be damaged or removed without consequences. We need it all.
A Well-Intentioned Myth
Our brains are highly interconnected. Trying to quantify the true percentage of the brain we use at any given moment is nearly impossible and not very useful.
This “10% of the brain” idea is commonly spread as a motivational device. While it doesn’t have any scientific merit, it’s a way of saying, “Your brain is capable of so much more than you realize! You can do amazing things! You can learn more! You have the power to grow and change! You can increase your intelligence and abilities!”
These words of encouragement are hard to deny. All of us tend to put constraints on ourselves.
When we feel stuck in our lives or limited by how much we think we can accomplish, a little inspiration can go a long way.
But instead of spreading misinformation and misunderstanding, we should focus on teaching people to use their brains as effectively as possible and basing this advice on informed research and evidence.
You can use your brain to achieve extraordinary advancements, not because there are untapped reserves of brainpower waiting to be unlocked, but because 100% of your brain is already there – learning, remembering, and adapting.