Is it true that every person uses only 10% of his brain? i have heard it from a lot of people but i wanna know the real fact about it!

Expert Answers
enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No.  Everyone uses 100% of his or her brain.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) once wrote an article regarding this (which I cannot find , unfortunately) which reemphasized that different areas of the brain do different things; in addition to the higher cortical functions of reasoning, the brain, as the primary organ for the body's nervous system, is busy regulating heartbeat, breathing, motor functions, and all the other critical neurological functions for survival.  Additionally, the brain is busy processing auditory and especially visual data.  I believe he understood the 10% statement to mean that only 10% was used in the higher cortical functions -- and that the remaining 90% was busy on autopilot keeping us working.  If we could use 100% of the brain as cortex, yes, we'd be superintelligent! ...but also 100% dead from lack of oxygen, heartbeat, nervous and sensory processing.

The link suggests some origins for the "10% Brain Myth:"

...and another:

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Apparently the idea that people use only ten percent of their brains is a myth, and, if you think about the claim, it doesn't make a great deal of sense. The brain has evolved over an enormous length of time, and it makes little sense that non-functional, non-useful parts of the brain would have survived the process of selection. To say that I use my fingers most when I type is not to say that I don't use my arms and my brain; each part of the organism is important to all the other parts.  Yet apparently the brain can in some cases adapt to the loss of function in some parts, although the degree of such adaptability would seem to be very limited.

Here's another useful link:

If you search on Google for "ten percent brain myth," you will find many other discussions of this matter.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I have to agree with post 2. The 10% figure comes from higher level thinking and cortical function not overall brain usage. We use about 10% of our brain to think, reason, learn, etc. The rest of the brain is used to keep our bodies functioning. Each area of the brain is designed to work in different ways. You don't have to remember to tell your heart to beat or your lungs to breathe. These are automatic functions that our brain takes care of. There is a flurry of activity going on at all times in the brain. Yes, even when you sleep your brain is very active. If you stop and think about how many autonomic functions the human body has, its no wonder that the majority of the brain goes to these types of functions.
pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's a myth, rather like saying you only use 10% of your muscles. You use various areas of the brain for different things, and there's a limit to how successfully the human brain can multitask, so the load is spread out over the brain over time.

Did you know that it IS true that you are carrying most of your visual load on one eye or the other, though? One eye does the bulk of the work while the other "coasts", and in a normally sighted person the eyes switch the load back and forth all day long.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree that the 10% brain usage is a myth. While some people's brains are far more developed than others, it does not mean that they use less of their brain. I think that Litteacher nailed it: we simply do not use our entire brain at the same time. Parts of our brains are simply meant for specific functions. If we are not activating that portion of our brain, it has no reason to be "working" at the time.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I love your profile picture! I think the myth likely comes from the fact that we don't all use all of our brain at the same time. Some parts of our brain are used for one thing, and some people seem to use different parts of the brain, or possibly more or less. A brain injury is an example.
brian77 | Student

How is any of this scientifically provable? It can't be determined that 10% of cortical function is used. Scientists make assumptions based on MRIs and like #4 said it's because we don't use all parts of our brains simultaneously.

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