Humans Only Use 100% of their Brain

Working in the paranormal field I talk to a lot of people who hold stock in psychics and/or PSI phenomena. When questioning individuals who hold such beliefs (and I know there are many who believe this and have no interest in the paranormal) on how psychics are performing this paranormal feat, they more often than not respond with:

“Well, perhaps they are using or unlocking parts of the brain others cannot access”.

Intrigued, I shoot them another question and a smirk. “What do you mean?”

They tend to reply something to the effect of “We know humans only use 10 percent of the brain, maybe they are tapping into the other 90percent.”

I have heard this time and time again, from people who believe they possess psychic powers to the people who believe (or are deceived by) it. This ‘10 percent of our brains’ misconception is 100 percent complete bullshit. There is absolutely no scientific data or evidence that supports and or suggests that human beings only use 10 percent of the brain. As a matter of fact, can you guess how much of the brain we do use? All 100 percent of it!

Author (and just an all around amazing fellow) Ben Radford has written on this very topic. Radford states that this argument that psychic powers come from untapped part of the brain is a logical fallacy called the argument from ignorance. In this logical fallacy, something has to be either true or false merely because it has not been proven or refuted. So basically, even if 90 percent of the brain is untapped by most humans, it doesn’t mean that being able to use any of that 90 percent would give anyone psychic powers (or any other paranormal mental powers).

Now although humans may not use 100 percent of their brain at once, it is important to know and understand different actions may require different parts of the brain to react. However, not using all the brain at once and only using 10 percent as a whole are two totally different things. Where did the idea of humans only using 10 percent of the brain come from?

I have been able to find very little information as to where the origins of this myth come from, but there seems to be quite a bit of speculation. One idea that may have fueled this myth is that less than 10 percent of the cells in the brain are nerve cells, called neurons, the rest of these cells are called glial cells. To sum it up, neurons are cells that have the function of receiving and transmitting the neural impulses and glial cells are the cells that support, feed and insulate the neurons. Another possible origin of the myth comes from Albert Einstein when he told a reporter that his brilliance came from using more than 10 percent of his brain.

So we may not know the exact origin of the myth. But just because we don’t know where the myth came from doesn’t refute the fact that humans do use 100 percent of their brain. So please, next time a psychic or person claiming to have any type of PSI powers, tries to use the 10 percent myth as an explanation, be sure to respectfully correct them and ask them to try a different explanation. Take care.

 

References:

http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html

http://home.ix.netcom.com/~suzumi/badmedicine_ch1.pdf

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About Bobby the Paranormal Skeptic
Bobby Nelson is a skeptic, writer, and co-host of Strange Frequencies Radio. His personal blog can be found online at www.porkrhine.com At one time, Bobby was what could be called a "true believer" in paranormal phenomenon. Having been an active investigator of the paranormal for 12 years with several different Toledo based teams, he has examined countless claims of activity. But years worth of research and investigation proved to him that the evidence for these claims are generally lacking and, furthermore, the vast majority of so-called scientific paranormal investigators were using improper methodologies which caused them to draw both false and misleading conclusions.

One Response to Humans Only Use 100% of their Brain

  1. Jason Korbus says:

    Radford’s joke on Snopes is the best. Something like… a man get shot in the head. The doctor says, “Luckily the bullet hit the 90% people dont use…so he’ll survive.” Hahaha I died. It’s way better on Snopes.

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