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What's going on with the rest of our brain?

  1. Jun 23, 2003 #1
    I don't know if this necessarily belongs in the philosophy section, but we'll try it on for size.

    So as you all know, we use maybe 10 percent of our brain's capacity(some use considerably less, but that's another topic:wink:). Einstein purportedly used maybe 20% of his brain(this may be an overestimatation). So what about the other 80 percent? What untapped powers lie in the vastly umapped synapses of our conciousness? Some would jump on the telekenetic powers bandwangon, saying we could move things with our mind, etc. I'm not one of them personally. But what mysteries of the universe could we comprehend, or solve if we maxed it out? Certainly discoveries would exponentially speed up. I can't think of the book, but one novel addressed this where supposedly we'd been in some sort of cosmic radiation field, and we finally swung out of it, and it turns out that it had been slowing our minds from thier full potential. Suddenly animals could speak, and spoken word gave way to communication by thought.

    Now I'm not looking for radical ideas here, just some logic, educated theories as to what lies in the untapped and unused.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2003 #2
    the old saying that humans only use 10% of their brain is not scientifically accurate. if you hook electrodes up to a person and monitor their brain, every part is being used. what the saying is trying to say, i think, is that we only use 10% of our potensial intellect.

    don't take this too seriously. it's just another one of those annoying things that scientifically ignorant people (who think they're smart) say. like the old "your blood is blue until it touches oxygen", or "when you clap your hands together, they never really touch becuase you are compressing air so rapidly that that is what you feel".
  4. Jun 23, 2003 #3
    Ok but still, the question is modified, still remains. What if we were to realize our "full intellect"? So are you saying there is no scientific basis for the estimate that we are not realizing our full potential? Obviously there is room for variance as the difference between the average intelligence and the highest recorded IQ is about 165, which is staggering. Even if at the least, we were all Einstiens, it would change the way we percieve things..
  5. Jun 23, 2003 #4
    Ever find yourself "straining to think?" To where you finally give yourself a headache? What percentage of the brain is actually allowed for "intellectual thought?"
  6. Jun 23, 2003 #5
    Certainly less than 100 percent, and thus my question
  7. Jun 23, 2003 #6
    And yet the brain has a myriad of other things to do (on a subconscious level) besides question itself? :smile:

    Sorry, I don't know?
  8. Jun 23, 2003 #7
    i am willing to agree that for most of us, we have the potencial to be more intelligent if we put our minds to it. not 90% more intelligent, however. i believe that we cannot all be einsteins. genetics simply favours some more than others.
  9. Jun 23, 2003 #8
    I ran across on odd scientific tidbit some time ago that actually smarter people's brains will respond to problems by exhibiting less EEG measures or they will solve the same problem with less biochemical effort.
  10. Jun 23, 2003 #9
    Yeah, it was proven using magnetic resonance imaging. Basically, more intelligent people think less. The various parts of their brains dedicated to solving any particular part of a puzzle will do their thing and stop. Less intelligent people will worry about being wrong, take circuitous routes to the same answer, or whatever and use more of their brain power less effeciently.
  11. Jun 23, 2003 #10
    Right but I'm posing a "what if" scenario whereby through genetic engineering, or whatever means, you could seed everyone born with equal intelligence? Would not even 2 Einsteins drastically revolutionize human understanding? If for instance, one could see what the other could not, or cover all the bases. And lets say that though science could give us increased intelligence, it could not determine the area of increased intelligence. With that variable in place, all the bases would be covered. One might be right brain, other left, another equally, and so on and so on....

    Regardless of the exact percentage, we are in agreement that there is untapped potentential, and that it could benefit mankind. The question is how would it manifest itsself ?

    As far as the less is more theory of intelligence.. If Einstein had been intelligent enough to designate a small portion of his mind to Unified theory will the majority of his mind ventured into other places such as realistic interstellar travel, or even time travel.. then who knows what achievements he might have made ?
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2003
  12. Jun 23, 2003 #11
    this race of einsteins would not all turn out equally intelligent. enviournment also plays a part.
  13. Jun 24, 2003 #12
    Ok but you're missing my point. OK supposed that the average intellingence for the human race was raise to 250? What then ?
  14. Jun 26, 2003 #13
    Ok if our brain was more than it is now, average IQ. We would all be the same dumb people we are today, but with extra crap to think about and ponder. The reason we forget is so an experience seems new again. The reason it is hard but not impossible is because that is more fun. If our brains were bigger or more powerful we could move things with our mind and crud like that. We could design a better space ship. We would still not know why women do the things they do or why men do the things they do. We may solve more problems but these will pose more questions to solve. This is a never ending fun game that we have been alowed somehow to play.
  15. Jun 26, 2003 #14
    If Einstien, Newton, and Descartes all got together and spent years trying to figure that one out I bet they still couldn't
  16. Jun 26, 2003 #15
    i doubt it.
  17. Jun 26, 2003 #16
    Funny Sheldon, intelligence would be relative, if everyone had 250 then it would be considered 100, and people would still deviate to more or less. A race of Einsteins would probably be a very screwy world with too many bad hair cuts, I mean Einstein seemed more like a specialist thinker. Did you know Einstein loved philosophy, but had a failed first marriage-I don't feel so bad now.
  18. Jun 26, 2003 #17
    Funny you should mention. I was just reading this book on Einstien. His first marriage failed, I believe, largely due to his constant time away from home doing lectures, tours, working, etc. Of course it was also said he wasn't exactly personable. I could totally see that happening. If you marry someone who's vastly intellectually inferior to you, then over a long period of time the relationship would diminish.. But hey, I'm no Dr. Phil or anything.. Just an educated guess.
  19. Jun 27, 2003 #18
    As far as IQ is realy concerned. I have seen more real genius in a retarded person than ever in any highly intelligent person. My reason for seeing this is because I slowed down enough to observe them. I noticed that there brain is not cluttered like ours and that they see things totaly differant. They even may see the reality that we all long to see but don't have the intelligence to explain it. There is beauty in simple minded people. We all look up to Einstein as a great mind, and he was no doubt about that. His mind allowed him to see the great universe in a differant way. Funny we should mention him in this light, after all they thought he was retarded when he was a child because he was slow. He was so simple minded, (speculation) that when somebody asked him what time it was, he stared at them trying to figure out what exactly time was so he could tell them. So they looked at a blank child and said you frickin idiot, can't you tell time?
    I realy don't think he ever stoped trying to figure it out. Now our perceptions of time are changed forever.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2003
  20. Jun 27, 2003 #19
    That may be evident in autistic patients who can calculate numbers so quickly
  21. Jun 27, 2003 #20
    now this interests me. do we have any reason to believe these abilities can be demenstrated in average people? is it entirely subconcious?
  22. Jun 27, 2003 #21
    here's a link on autism, or "rainman" syndrome as it was dubbed after the movie:

    http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/savant/faq.cfm#1 [Broken]

    "Savant Syndrome is a rare, but spectacular, condition in which persons with various developmental disorders, including autistic disorder, have astonishing islands of ability, brilliance or talent that stand in stark, markedly incongruous contrast to overall limitations. The condition can be congenital (genetic or inborn), or can be acquired later in childhood, or even in adults. The savant skills co-exist with, or are superimposed upon, various developmental disabilities including autistic disorder, or other conditions such as mental retardation or brain injury or disease that occurs before (pre-natal) during (peri-natal) or after birth (post-natal), or even later in childhood or adult life. The extraordinary skills are always linked with prodigious memory of a special type — exceedingly deep but very, very narrow."

    It makes you wonder if the birth defect is in actuallity, a higher concentration of synaptic connectors in certain areas of the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain that control higher reasoning. So to use an analogy, maybe they got all thier eggs dumped into one basket instead of being evenly distributed, as the general rule of thumb is.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  23. Jun 27, 2003 #22
    Oh sure, we all know the story. Some poor bugger gets shot in the head - but thankfully all was ok, he was shot in 90% of his brain that he didnt use.

    Get real. Go and read some neuro psychology text books, then tell me we dont use 90% of our brain.
  24. Jun 27, 2003 #23
    Re: Re: What's going on with the rest of our brain?

    Excellent idea. And funny you should mention that, becuase I've decided to go back to school and become a doctor. And my intended goal is phsychiatry, though I'm not ruling out neurology either. I'll let you know when I do;)

    I'll be the first to admit that my expertise in neurology is not the best, however I am learning. I was simply using the "urban legend" or popular misconception to pose the question of the results of utilizing more of our brain power.
  25. Jun 28, 2003 #24
    Neuro psyc is proberly the most interesting of all the psycs. Studying psychiatry should be great for you, its a wonderful area. Love the brain, how it works etc, just amazing how everything seems to work...

    I guess your brain question (and the urban myth for that matter) really depends on what you classify as 'use'. how much do we need to live? Just the fact of staying alive? yes, that could be 10%, as it is basicly taken down to one or 2 lobes that run lung and heart function. But to live as a person, a functioning mind.... we need it all. some are simple conditioning relation centers (if you go with that theory) some are personality and anger regulators, other area's is simply memory storage. So, even if we use the whole thing, we dont need the whole thing to 'survive' as such.

    Thats where the 10% of the brain only needed theory came from: a couple of sadistic neuro surgens got themselves a rat, and slowly carved away its brain till it couldent move and then finally died. So yeah, 10% for the autonoma to simply work, maybe more if u want a person of some sort. :eek:)

    but this is the most interesting stuff to discuss... theory of conditioning on a nuronal level, and how that works, theory of learning through pavlovian conditioning aspects for all our knowledge... some of it is slightly behaviourist for me, but still. There is amazing reaserch being done on how each lobe reacts, and especily in memory storage and retrieval... This is an enigma for reaserch, and noone really knows anything about it (many conflicting theorys every where) so you are getting into this at proberly the most exciting time for brain reaserch so far. Good luck... Its great stuff. :eek:)
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2003
  26. Jul 2, 2003 #25
    The 10% thing is a total myth. We use 100% of our brains. The reason this myth developed was from the fact that about 10% of our brains are needed for our basic survival functions (heart, lungs, etc).
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