Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

% of brain used, myth?

  1. May 30, 2011 #1
    I saw an old thread on this website that talked about the percentage of the brain being used. But I wasnt quite satisfied with the answers given, not because I beleive them to be wrong; I just don't think that their question was direct enough.

    I have been told that we only use 10% of our brain, and I've also been told that its a myth. I've seen a few people's opinions on the matter and I dont think anyones really on the same page with it, giving different answers/opinions. It really depends on how you look at the question.
    If someone says "Do we really only use 10% of our brain?", the literal answer is no. Because much more than 10% of the physical brain is used while doing something that requires mental energy. The more activity going on up there the more of itself it uses. I'm leaning more towards the 10% being the capacity that the brain can use.

    The only way i can really describe it is like a computers RAM. Your computer may have 320G in its HDD. You can access it all, but if you ran the same amount of memory on two computers with different RAM's the percentage of its CPU usage will vary. So if you use more than that average 10 percent, your brain will use its functions more easily and efficiently. Making the person smarter in general and able to use more of the brain at once.

    So I guess what im really trying to ask is whether or not the 10% myth is actually true if looked at like a capacity to use whats stored in the brain.
    sorry about the lead up to the question, i just needed to explain what was on my mind regarding it.

    Does anyone get where im coming from?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2011 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF! This does not conform to the current understanding in neuroscience. All components of the brain are constantly working with specialised regions performing specific tasks (i.e. visual processing), sections of the brain are never idle.

    This link has some good, simple explanations of why the myth is wrong and links to other sites.
  4. May 30, 2011 #3
  5. May 30, 2011 #4
    Most recent coming out of the hub regarding the HUMAN BRAIN:
    Fantastic website:

    http://www.alleninstitute.org/newsroom/press_releases.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. May 30, 2011 #5
    The real problem behind this question in the previous thread was, "How do you define brain usage?" And it has been thoroughly discussed over there.
  7. May 30, 2011 #6
    No, it was not thoroughly discussed over on the other thread. Here's an article from UCLA Health System:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  8. May 31, 2011 #7
    There have been a few proposed criteria for brain usage some of which were:
    1. Blow flow by Dr Lots-o'watts
    2. Neuron Firing rate by Dalespam
    3. Memory usage by Darken-Sol

    However we define it, its a myth.
    Also I would link back to good ol Wikipedia
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: % of brain used, myth?
  1. The brain (Replies: 1)

  2. The brain (Replies: 2)

  3. Is Aids a Myth (Replies: 32)