Brain Usage

My Biology teacher had recently said that we actually use only like 4-5% of our brain capacity. Is she correct?[?]

I think that we are using close to or 100% of our brain capacity. Because the brain uses the highest amount of energy in our body, so i doubt that evolution of such a big brain happened for millions of years, just so that it can guzzle so much energy and provide only a 4-5% output. Highly illogical of a natural selection which will ruthlessly expel such an opposition of efficiency.

*please correct my bio wherever applicable.
 

Njorl

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Your biology teacher might just be speaking for herself. Most people use much more than that.

I believe PET scans show that significant brain activity only occurs in a small part of the brain at any one time, but that does not mean that the rest of the brain is not used. There are passive uses that don't show up on PET scans.

A lot of the brain is made up of fat, not neurons. While you could call this "brain", I don't think you could call it "brain capacity".

Njorl
 

Njorl

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You could google - myth brain % - to get some web pages to dispel this myth.

Njorl
 
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maybe 4-5 % for "voluntary" tasks...not reflex...
 
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Originally posted by bogdan
maybe 4-5 % for "voluntary" tasks...not reflex...
Well, much of reflex originates in the spinal cord (instead of the brain). However, I'm sure that subconscious processes (such as instinct) could use up a good portion of "brain power".
 
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not really reflex...not conscious...like smelling,tasting,hearing,the sense of touch...
 
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Originally posted by bogdan
not really reflex...not conscious...like smelling,tasting,hearing,the sense of touch...
Subconscious bodily processes, right? Well, I don't think they take up that much of the "brain power" (of course, I'm not sure about this, this is just my opinion), and I also disagree with the idea that our conscious mind only takes up 4% of our "brain power".

I had a thread about this (in the former PFs - entitled "1%of1%, Fur instead of hair, Human Uniqueness?), and this question remained unanswered: why do people say that we use so little of our brain, if it's not true?
 

Janus

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Originally posted by Mentat
[and this question remained unanswered: why do people say that we use so little of our brain, if it's not true? [/B]
This myth is based on an old study on mapping the brain. At the time they could only map 20% of the brain to observable functions (muscle control, sense perception etc.). Some reporter picked this up and wrote How "Scientists discover that we only used 20% of our Brains", Whiich is not what the study concluded.

Ever since then, the claim keeps being repeated with the percentage going down over time.
 
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I remember the thread Mentat, and i remember that lot of people gave good answers.
Here is mine:
Remember that you use only the shell of your brain to do intelligent processes (thinking, language proccesses .... etc).
Since the volume of the shell of the brain is really small somparing to the volume of the brain, people tend to think that we only use x% of our brain to think.
But you have to remember that you are not able to use any other part than the brain's shell to think, so you should calculate your brain usage comparing to the brain shell, not the whole brain.

(Note: Other parts of the brain are used for things that are not considered as intelligence, things that all advanced animals share).
 
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Originally posted by Janus
This myth is based on an old study on mapping the brain. At the time they could only map 20% of the brain to observable functions (muscle control, sense perception etc.). Some reporter picked this up and wrote How "Scientists discover that we only used 20% of our Brains", Whiich is not what the study concluded.

Ever since then, the claim keeps being repeated with the percentage going down over time.
Thanks, Janus. That makes sense.
 
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Originally posted by STAii
I remember the thread Mentat, and i remember that lot of people gave good answers.
Here is mine:
Remember that you use only the shell of your brain to do intelligent processes (thinking, language proccesses .... etc).
Since the volume of the shell of the brain is really small somparing to the volume of the brain, people tend to think that we only use x% of our brain to think.
But you have to remember that you are not able to use any other part than the brain's shell to think, so you should calculate your brain usage comparing to the brain shell, not the whole brain.

(Note: Other parts of the brain are used for things that are not considered as intelligence, things that all advanced animals share).
You're right, there were some good answers there, I guess I just forgot what they were.

However, I disagree with saying that we only use the "shell" of our brain in intelligent behavior. Is there perhaps a link/book/other reference, that you can direct me to, so that I can better understand your side?
 
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You may like this or you may hate this or at least you'll think its a cool idea.what if memory and other functions of the brain work differently than you ever thought it did.what if the brains ability to create consciousness by the physical properties and electrical,causes in the synaptic pathways only create awareness.what if the rest of the brain works off of you commands and telepathically sends messages to the areas of the brain to order functions to happen.like you ask your self the remember something.the information encoded on the cells of the brain are access by the brain previously putting it where it wanted it to then stored the information of where it is near consciousness,like hard drives,when the informations put somewhere its tagged and remembers so it knows where to look for it.
so all proccesses of consciousness are your abbility to create the proper way of seeing things or instructions that make sense to you to make yourself do somethign are your to create,so when you do your mind follows them as you perform them by visualizing.so all functions you do are the telepathic communications between consciousness and the rest of the brain
 
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Does the brain have any vestigial regions, or has the function of various brain parts evolved radically away from their original purpose?
 
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Well like we understand,sub conscious is always doing things while we just think.so we have two consciousness thinking at the same time.sub conscious makes these decision for us.it puts memorys where it wants brings ideas to mind reminds us of where we have to be today,because we tell our selfs to and it happens for us,because sub conscious heared what you ask,and did it for you when to time came.we communicate all the time with our inself.we give ourselfs instuction,and our mind carries it outfor us either on purposebecause we did,or when where not paying attention.so conscious commands sub consiousness and sub consciousness carries out the instructions as it makes us think at the same time.so when you ask for a memory the sub consciousness already knows where it put it and retreives it for us,so fast we didnt notice any time delay.so sub conscious encodes the information on the cells atoms just like dna stores our blue prints.the information on the atoms is encoded telepathically by sub consciousness for us.so try making up different types of commands to see what you mind will give you as a response.i do it all the time its hard to explain the thing i do but thats another post
 
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Mentat,
Well, i heard it once from a neurologist, but since you are asking for a book, i just found one.
I have in front of me a book called "The Brain, An Introduction To The Psychology Of The Human Brain And Behaviour, By Christine Temple", unfortunately the book i have is translated to arabic.
I (after re-translating it into english) quote this part.

... and we know that the volume of the whole brain is not the factor that determines the thinking capabilities. For example, the volume of the brain of an elephant is much bigger than the volume of the brain of the human, although the human is much smarter. It seems that the factor that determines intelligence is the ratio between of the brain's shell volume to the brain volume itself. We actually can see that this thin layer (the brain shell) is so large in the human brain that it had to go in and out on the surface of the brain ...

What do u think now ? :wink:
 

LURCH

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In the old thread, I visited some of the sites such as "Urban Legend" which tried to dispel this "myth". However, they all ended up confirming it. If the articles found at any of the sites are read carefully enough, it can be seen that they verify the figure between five and 20 percent (depending on the site).
 

LURCH

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That link is to one of the pages I mentioned above, and is typical of the arguments presented in all the sites I have visited. The basic argument against the "myth" that we only use (insert appropriately small number here)% of our potential brainpower can be stated as follows:

"That is not true because anyone who believes that it is true is trying to prove psychic or telekinetic phenomena!" This is the classic example of what philosophers call the "straw man" fallacy.
 

ahrkron

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Originally posted by LURCH
"That is not true because anyone who believes that it is true is trying to prove psychic or telekinetic phenomena!" This is the classic example of what philosophers call the "straw man" fallacy. [/B]
The reference to psychic phenomena is not mentioned as a reason against the claim, but as an explanation for why it is so widespread.

The site Phobos provided mentions some evidence against the claim from PET scans.
 
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Originally posted by Phobos
the 10% myth (or 4-5% in this case...someone likes to exaggerate!) is a pathetic urban legend

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percnt.htm

pass it on!
I've mentioned before that it's quite predominent in the non-tertiary teaching profession. I guess this is another example of it.

I wish I have been equipped with a good command of evolutionary biology when I first encountered this rubbish at the age of 10.
 
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Originally posted by Deslaar
I've mentioned before that it's quite predominent in the non-tertiary teaching profession. I guess this is another example of it.

I wish I have been equipped with a good command of evolutionary biology when I first encountered this rubbish at the age of 10.
If we use 10% of our brain I'd be awestruck by the explanation. Why don't we hear about the idea that we use 10% of of our lung capacity or 10% of our pancreas capacity?

Did you know that humans use 10% of our liver capacity? It's all rather silly.
 
What about if you had no brain, could you think?

I remember reading somewhere that a kid who was born with only slush in his cranium, no brain. Yet he could interact with others and i think he even got quite high results in tests when he was in school. But if i remember correctly, he is already dead.
 

LURCH

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Originally posted by ahrkron
The reference to psychic phenomena is not mentioned as a reason against the claim, but as an explanation for why it is so widespread.

The site Phobos provided mentions some evidence against the claim from PET scans.
That's what I'm saying; the site "mentions some evidence". The artical at that site consists of five or six paragraphs about psychic phenomena, 2 paragraphs of plane old insults implying that the "myth" is true in the case of those who believe it, and one brief and vague reference to "some evidence" (the evidence itself is never presented) and, in the middle of it all, one sentence confirming the truth of the claim. If one reads carefully enough, it is there. Take a look at number "1)" under "Evidence Against the Ten Percent Myth".

Also note that the first sentence under that heading, in which the author states the intent of the section starts with, "The argument that psychic powers come from the unused majority of the brain is based on the logical fallacy of...", revealing what myth the author is truly arguing against.
 
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damgo

Check out New Scientist's Last Word on the topic: http://www.newscientist.com/lastword/article.jsp?id=lw540 [Broken]
 
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Monique

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Did you know:
The brain constitutes 2% of body weight, but takes 15% of
cardiac output and 20% of total body oxygen..

Bubonic plague, no brain is not possible, but it IS possible for water to accumulate in the head and thus preventing the growth of the brain, I've seen a girl which had only a very very small brain, but wasn't severely mentally impaired. How about the operations in which complete hemispheres are removed?

And why would it be strange to only use 20%? That doesn't mean we are always using the SAME 20%.
 

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