10% of Brain Myth

10% of Brain Myth

Updated Aug 21, 2014 at 10:05PM EDT by RandomMan.

Added Apr 01, 2013 at 10:34PM EDT by Efrain.

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The 10% of brain myth is the widely perpetuated urban legend that most or all humans only make use of 20%, 10% or some other small percentage of their brains. It has been misattributed to people including Albert Einstein. By association, it is suggested that a person may harness this unused potential and increase intelligence.[1]


According to a related origin story, the 10% myth most likely arose from a misunderstanding of neurological research in the late 19th century or early 20th century. For example, the functions of many brain regions are complex enough that the effects of damage are subtle, leading early neurologists to wonder what these regions did.[2]The brain was also discovered to consist mostly of glial cells, which seemed to have very minor functions. Dr. James W. Kalat, author of the textbook Biological Psychology, points out that neuroscientists in the 1930s knew about the large number of “local” neurons in the brain. The misunderstanding of the function of local neurons may have led to the 10% myth.

[1]Wikipedia – Ten percent of brain myth

[2]‪Sandra Aamodt‬, ‪Sam Wang‬ – Welcome to Your Brain

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