As most of us are aware, there is a popular speculation that we use only 10% of our brain. In this article, we’ll try to debunk the misconception around the usage of the brain.

 Where did it begin?

It is said that the speculation may have started when JEAN PIERRE FLOURENS, the founder of experimental brain science and inventor of anaesthesia, demonstrated regional functionality of brain’s hemispheres and termed a large portion of the cerebrum as “SILENT CORTEX”.

This myth became widely popular in the 1920s and 30s by Karl Lashley, an American psychologist. Lashley attempted to establish the relation between brain mass and its function. He conducted his experiments on rats, he removed a part of the cerebral cortex of the rats and observed that they could still relearn specific tasks after the damage. This relation established by him may also be the reason for the myth.


Understanding the construction of the brain

Human brain weighs between 1-1.5 kg and is composed of neurons (86-100 billion in number) which is the fundamental unit of the brain and the nervous system. The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system which is responsible for interpretations, thoughts and control of body movements.

 The brain is enclosed within the skull and is surrounded by the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Anatomy of the brain


  • Forebrain : Cerebrum, hypothalamus and thalamus
  • Midbrain: Tectum, cerebral aqueduct, tegmentum and basis pedunculi
  • Hindbrain: Cerebellum, Medulla and Pons.

Evidence to debunk the myth

The advancement in the field of neuroscience has provided us with the resources and time to study the brain in depth thus providing us with the proof that the 10% myth is nothing but a misconception.

  • Brain imaging through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) made the noninvasive study of the brain possible. The fMRI scans showed that all the parts of the brain were active during different tasks even if they are as simple as walking, listening to music or talking. 
  • The evolution theory suggests that the part of the body grows stronger and bigger in future generations if it is used continuously and effectively. The human brain is comparatively larger than the brains of other animals. Comparing the above two statements there is no possible explanation that our brain would grow if we were to use only a little part of it.
  • Studies show that the brain uses approximately 20% of the body’s total energy. As with the brain size and the evolutionary theory suggests , a comparatively unused organ using this much energy doesn’t make any sense.
  • When the brain is damaged ( at least a part of it) the effect is shown throughout the body. This shows no part of the brain can work in the absence of the other. 

Hope the above evidence and theories helped you in understanding the fact that we use 100% of our brains.

Bonne lecture 🙂

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