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"potential"

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Sun Dec 22 11:05:06 EST 1996


In article <E2t8GI.KC2 at liverpool.ac.uk>, wahchan at liverpool.ac.uk (Mr. W.Y.
Chan) wrote:


> I hate it when someone tells you that but the truth is no one is using
> their "true potential" otherwise our potential would be limitless, as
> Albert Einstein puts it "on average man only use 10% of their mental capacity"


Does anyone know where this came from?  I've heard the variant, 'you only
use 10% of your brain' many times, and after 9 years spent studying
Neuroscience, I have not come across one shred of evidence for these vast,
untapped brain areas.

I have three theories:

1.  In humans, the known, defined sensory areas make up about 10% give or
take another 10%.  The other 90% is harder to define, being composed of
higher order association functions, and can't be tied up in a neat little
package.  So, people can't put a neat label on it and say "this is what
it's for."  Somehow this unknown area got to be thought of as unused.

2.  People don't use their entire brain all at once, that's true, they use
selective parts of it.  Using it all at once, however, would be called a
seizure, and this is usually regarded as undesirable.

3.  Wishful thinking.  People wish there were vast untapped brain
resources because somehow, tapping into them sounds easier than doing the
hard work to use what they have to good advantage.

I could be wrong, but as I said, I've never seen any good neurobiological
evidence for this claim that we "only use 10% of our brains."  Does anyone
have any more information than I do on the subject?

Karen



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