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A lot of people are arguing about weather we use 10% or 90% of our brain

 

How much of the average human brain do we use?

 

Dose most people have a different percentage use?

 

What could that extra percentage be used for?

 

and what would It be like if we all used 100% of our brain?:confused:

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We use 100% of our brain. but may only be using a smaller percentage at any one instant in time. different part of the brain do different jobs. one part does vision, another does sound, another is used for moving, a small part of the brain is there just for facial recognition. If you not looking at a face, that part of the brain would be mostly inactive.

 

Rather like a company or organisation, all of the employees are needed and used, sometimes a group of them aren't doing anything much, while a few are doing some work. Then, the ones who were working might stop and some others start working. In this analogy, the ones which aren't working are only doing so for a fraction of a second as work is distributed very quickly around the company.

 

Have a look here

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we do use 100% of our brain.

 

where the 10% comes from is that only about 10% of our neurons are firing at any one time. any more and you're having a seizure and any less and your in a coma (of course there is some natural variation but this has nothing to do with cognitive ability.)

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where the 10% comes from is that only about 10% of our neurons are firing at any one time. any more and you're having a seizure and any less and your in a coma (of course there is some natural variation but this has nothing to do with cognitive ability.)

 

Could you please provide a source supporting this claim?

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A lot of people are arguing about weather we use 10% or 90% of our brain

 

How much of the average human brain do we use?

 

Dose most people have a different percentage use?

 

What could that extra percentage be used for?

 

and what would It be like if we all used 100% of our brain?:confused:

 

We use it all, but not all of it is going through an action potential at one time. If that were the case, you'd probably be going through a stroke.

 

Read this:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=people-only-use-10-percent-of-brain

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I am not sure about the values but in my memory more complicated tasks or very varied stimulation result in more than 10% activity. It will be hard to pinpoint down a definite number, though.

Of course if all fire at once there will be trouble as there is no way to modulate activity anymore (thing about a cramp as an analogy, if you want). As mentioned above, epileptic seizures (not strokes, there are something entirely different) are charcterized by an abnormally high neuronal activity.

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I guess you're referring to the following paragraph in the Scientific American article (if not, please correct me):

 

The myth's durability, Gordon says, stems from people's conceptions about their own brains: they see their own shortcomings as evidence of the existence of untapped gray matter. This is a false assumption. What is correct, however, is that at certain moments in anyone's life, such as when we are simply at rest and thinking, we may be using only 10 percent of our brains.

 

Now. There are two problems with using this as a source that we're using 10 percent of our brain at any given time.

 

First of all, it's just at statement by some guy. There is no further reference to any scientific study.

 

Second, he's not stating that it's correct that we're using ten percent of our brain at any given time, but rather that it's correct that we may use ten percent of our brain at any given time. That is a huge difference.

 

That's like saying that at any given time point lightning might strike somewhere on the earth rather than at any given time point lightning does strike somewhere on the earth. This would be true both in a world where lightning only struck once and a world where lightning struck several times a second (as I believe is the case in our world).


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

If we're going to talk about this, we really have to define what we mean by usage. All the neurons in the brain are spontaneously firing all the time, so by that means, given a sufficient time window, we're using all of our brain all the time.

 

Would you define usage as activity above a certain threshold in a certain neuronal population? We could do that, but then you would have to specify a specific amount before saying anything about any percentages of the brain being in use at any given time point.

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Here is a piece of brain scan footage I've been looking for. It basically shows electrical activity in the brain, (More specificaly the cerebral cortex) moving from place to place. the video is slowed down considerably.

The orange areas represent areas of more intense activity whilst the blue areas represent lower electrical brain/cerebral activity.

As you can see, around between 10% and 30% of the brain is active at any one time, but on average, the whole brain is used.

 

 

occipital lobe is on the right; frontal on the left.

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Well, since this sequence is created from a fMRI scan, it is really the concentration of oxygen from the blood we are looking at, which has not been shown to be directly correlated with electrical activity.

 

Further, what we are looking at is where the amount of oxygen is significantly higher than in the rest of the brain. That is, even if we assume a direct correlation between brain activity and blood flow, this visual presentation only shows where the strength of the activity deviates from the baseline. That an area of the brain is blue doesn't mean that nothing is going on there. We could for example in theory have a brain with uniform activity everywhere. This brain wouldn't show any activation in the fMRI at all (unless you have two conditions, in which one of them, the brain is much more quiet than in the other...Then you could light up the whole freakin brain. However, that would only show that the activity was higher in one of the conditions.).

 

Also, I don't see where you get that 10% to 30% number from. It isn't obvious to me.

Edited by Speldosa
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Different parts of the brain do different things. It seems logical, that if one coordinates many mutually exclusive brain tasks at once, you can get more parts of the brain into action, at the same time.

 

For example, the martial artist is moving his body with both coordination and speed to address his gang of opponents. Besides his cerebellum, he is using all his senses in heightened awareness. He also needs eyes behind his head, so he is reasoning and using his imagination to figure out hidden opponents. He then takes a few shots to head which adds a new awareness of pain to the brain's blend. This gets his emotions and adrenaline pumping, causing the brain's core to light up. This may be why fighting and even war have been so contagious; gets the brain closer to max. Time can also appear to slow down, meaning the processing speed gets much faster, maybe due to more brain.

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From the first link iNow posted:

 

What data were used to come up with the number - 10%? Does this mean that you would be just fine if 90% of your brain was removed? If the average human brain weighs 1,400 grams (about 3 lb) and 90% of it was removed, that would leave 140 grams (about 0.3 lb) of brain tissue. That's about the size of a sheep's brain. It is well known that damage to a relatively small area of the brain, such as that caused by a stroke, may cause devastating disabilities. Certain neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease, also affect only specific areas of the brain. The damage caused by these conditions is far less than damage to 90% of the brain.

 

I find this to be a terrible argument. If one says that you're only using 10% of the brain (a statement that clearly needs more clarification; c.f. my earlier post) that doesn't imply that all brain matter being used is concentrated in only one part of the brain. Therefore, it could be fully consistent to say that you only use 10% of your brain and still that you would be handicapped if you removed any specific part of it.

 

Further, the author states:

 

Perhaps when people use the 10% brain statement, they mean that only one out of every ten nerve cells is essential or used at any one time? How would such a measurement be made? Even if neurons are not firing action potentials, they may still be receiving signals from other neurons.

 

I find it funny that the author questions the possibility of measuring this, yet he concludes his article with "We use 100% of our brains". Well, how the heck did you measure that?

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From the first link iNow posted:

<...>

I find this to be a terrible argument.

 

Then perhaps you should look to some of the other links, since that first one I shared above was specifically aimed at kids and hence not too technical or detailed. They also had further resources toward the bottom of the page, like these:

 

http://brainconnection.positscience.com/topics/?main=fa/brain-myth

http://www.csicop.org/si/9903/ten-percent-myth.html

http://www.ccmr.cornell.edu/education/ask/index.html?quid=1260

 

Plus two which have already been shared above in this thread, and also these:

 

# Higbee, K.L. and Clay, S.L., College students' beliefs in the ten-percent myth, Journal of Psychology, 132:469-476, 1998.

# B.L. Beyerstein, Whence Cometh the Myth that We Only Use 10% of Our Brains? in Mind Myths. Exploring Popular Assumptions about the Mind and Brain edited by S. Della Sala, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, pages 3-24, 1999. This chapter is required reading for anyone who wants more information on the 10% myth.

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why do you think that all areas of the brain being utilized(when those bits are needed) is equally dumb?

 

the brain is a very expensive (in terms of energy) organ to keep running. if there were significant areas that could be cut out without reducing functionality as they are never used then there would be large selection pressures in favour of those who develop without those bits or at least smaller versions of those bits.

 

you'd also have to come up with their former use, why did we need unused bits in the first place?

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@insane_alien: I'm still waiting for a definition of what it means when a part of the brain, or when a specific neuron, is in use. What does it mean to be using (over a certain quite long time interval) the whole brain? That activity above baseline flows through each area at some point in time? What if that activity isn't manifested in any overt behavior or conscious thoughts? Was it still being used then?

 

What I have problems is that when you're saying that you use 100% of the brain, you're just throwing in a number, just as when you're saying that you only use 10% of the brain, without really defining what the heck you mean by that number.

 

The problem with the 10% statement isn't, in my opinion, the number itself, but rather that it's a nonsense statement from the beginning unless you're really specifying what you're talking about. You can't debunk it by replacing it with some other number.

 

@omgwyther: The uploader, jlvincent, who appears to be the author of the papers associated with this video states as an answer to the very first comment to that video that it is based on fMRI (Q: "where data come from? electroencephalography?

fnmr?" A: "fMRI"). Further, the papers being referred to in the description of the video are both on BOLD-signals, that is, fMRI.

 

Also, since the activity is mapped on an actual model (although flattened out) of the cortex, rather than on a model of a head, one can be pretty sure that the data comes from fMRI because of the spatial uncertainty that comes inherent with the EEG-method. That is, if this data would have been acquired through the use of EEG, it would have been bullshit. You can't specify where the signal comes from with this much accuracy (in the movie, you can even see how activity disappears behind some sulci from time to time). In an fMRI measurement you usually get voxel not more than a couple of millimeters wide.

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Of course it was. Much, perhaps most, of the brain's activity does not manifest itself in conscious thought or overt behaviour.

 

So according to your definition, 90% of the brain would have to be totaly silent (that is, without any activity going on at all) for someone to say that you're only using 10% of your brain?

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So according to your definition, 90% of the brain would have to be totaly silent (that is, without any activity going on at all) for someone to say that you're only using 10% of your brain?
You are moving the goalposts. If there is no activity at all I would say the brain cell is dead. If you meant no activity that results in a control or processing function then I would say yes, 90% of it would have to be in this state to say one was using only 10% of ones brain.
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