The human brain is an incredible little machine we have. It is the primary part of our central nervous system along with the spinal cord, but it also has the power to send and receive messages to and from our peripheral nervous system which stretches throughout the rest of our bodies. The human brain can be divided into three parts of which can be divided into several more lobes, cortices, and other functioning parts. Each part, one could argue, is like a gear with its own role. Our frontal lobe has parts that give us the ability to speak, reason, move, or even feel emotion. Our occipital lobe is our visual processing center. And neurology can go into virtually any other such part of the brain and classify its purpose.
The brain is an incredible machine and computer, and perhaps it would be more so by the fact that it outperforms anything mechanical we can create by only using 10% of its capacity.
Unfortunately, that’s just not true. We do not only use 10% of our brains.
The fact is that neuropsychology and neurology have been able to find – and map – a function or two for every part of the brain that we have. Taking just the forebrain for example, the thalamus, hypothalamus, subthalamus, epithalamus, pretectum, and cerebrum aren’t just parts that scientists have named out of their spare time. Each part has a distinct function that humans rely on at some point or another in daily life. The thalamus has strong influence in the regulation of our arousal, sleep and wakefulness, and contain lesions to understand most of the sensorimotor information we receive. The hypothalamus links our central nervous system to our endocrine system, coordinating the functions of neurotransmitters within the nervous system with hormones throughout the body. And our cerebral cortex, the classic “gray matter” of our brain, plays roles in memory and thought, among other things.
Just as we can correlate parts with processes, we can also work backwards. When we know a particular process, we can find the part of the brain that the process initiates from. We know that a part of the frontal cortex and another part of the cerebral cortex in the brain are involved with different parts of speaking because of their malfunction. Broca’s and Wernicke’s Aphasia, also called expressive and receptive aphasia, are malfunctions in distinct parts of the brain that cause quite different malfunctions in language process. Someone who experiences expressive aphasia, for example, would be able to create meaningful thoughts in his mind but would not be able to speak a grammatical sentence with these meaningful thoughts. On the other hand, someone with receptive aphasia would be able to speak fluently, but without any meaningful content.
If we use all of our brain, then why does the myth persist that we only use 10 percent? Even Albert Einstein has been credited at least once with having said such a thing.
The answer is actually somewhat simple as well…because each part of the brain has a specific function and we are one-track mind people, when we are performing one function, we only need to use a specific part of the brain at a time. When we are speaking, we only need to use those parts of the brain that control the coordination of thought, language, motor movement, etc., It makes no sense to have the part of the brain that controls flight-or-fight response also working (unless we are talking with someone who stresses us, by chance.) So there might be truth in an adjusted idea: humans might only use 10% of their brains at a time.
But certainly, although the brain is a mysterious thing, it doesn’t see like we have any empty spaces.