Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by D. D Wonders, “If you only use 10% of your brain, what does the other 90% of your brain do?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, D!
Have you ever felt like you're not living up to your potential? If you're like most kids, you have a lot of things going on. Between school, sports, and friends, your time and attention is split many different ways.
Occasionally, you'll decide that you've studied enough for that algebra test. After the test, you feel like maybe you didn't study quite enough. When the graded test comes back with a lower score than you wanted, you realize that studying more should've been a higher priority.
Next time, you'll just buckle down and put your brain in high gear. You'll ace the test and get that grade back up where it needs to be. But is it always as simple as that?
Can you just tap into unused brain power? You may have heard from time to time that humans only use about 10% of their brain capacity. Shouldn't it be simple to dedicate more time to unlocking the unused portion of your brain to get the results you want?
In reality, the claim that humans only use 10% of their brain capacity is nothing more than a recurring myth. Historians believe the widespread myth might have gotten its start as far back as 1936. In that year, journalist Lowell Thomas wrote in the forward to Dale Carnegie's famous self-help book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, that "the average person develops only 10 percent of his latent mental ability."
Although Thomas credited a 1906 essay by psychologist William James, James never wrote that we use only 10% of our brain capacity. Instead, James wrote that he believed "we are only making use of a small part of our possible mental and physical resources."
Regardless of how the myth got started, it remains popular today and is often quoted as fact by a wide variety of people. Why has this myth persisted for so long? Experts believe it's because it has the ring of truth to it, and people want to believe that there's a huge well of untapped potential in everyone. Simply put, it's encouraging and motivational to think we could do so much more if we just put more of our brains to work.
So how much of your brain do you actually use? If you've ever believed in the 10% brain myth, you might be surprised to learn that human beings use virtually every part of their brains. Moreover, over the course of an average day, humans use nearly 100% of their brains.
Researchers who have studied the brain with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology have found that there are no dormant parts of the brain. In fact, most of your brain is active almost all of the time.
This all makes sense when you consider the importance of the brain to human life. Even though the brain only makes up 3-5% of the body's weight, it uses up an incredible 20% of the body's resources in terms of oxygen and glucose.