Seriously, I’m about to tell you how to use more than 10% of your brain. And I’m giving this incredible knowledge away from free. Are you ready? This is a major thing, so you might want to brace yourself against something or put pillows down so that when you fall and strike your head, you don’t end up damaging that very brain I’m about to tell you how to use more than 10% of. Are you safely housed in an environment that can ensure you do not damage your body parts when you fall? Well then, here’s how you do it.
Okay, I actually have no idea if that uses more than 10% of your brain. It’s a reasonable guess, particularly if you’re a woman as recent research using an MRI showed women’s brains exploding with activity during orgasm, but it’s still just a guess because I haven’t actually seen the data. But the truth is you and everyone else use much more than 10% of your brain. It’s an old and pervasive myth, but it’s a myth. And today, Steven Novella has an article up on Neurologica that talks about yet another snake oil peddler who is using this myth to line his pockets.
We know absolutely that this idea of all this wasted brainpower is untrue, and based on hundred-year-old speculation that has not in any way held up to scrutiny. But what if it was? Would we have the ability to handle turning on more of that wasted gray? This is what Neil Slade is selling, and it makes no sense. We know that the brain has many different regions that do many different things. Assuming for a moment that there was large portions of our brain that didn’t turn on, it’s not like we would be able to fine-tune what it is that they do. Turning them on would result in our making changes to our brains in a haphazard fashion. For example, let’s imagine that one particular unused glob of gray matter was used to control gill breathing, a vestigial remnant from our fishy ancestry. What benefit would turning it on provide? We wouldn’t be able to re-wire it and assign it as a secondary memory storage area; it’s meant for letting us use gills we don’t have and not for storing memory. So congratulations, through the power of this guy’s magical methodology, we now have the ability to use our gills. I feel smarter, don’t you?
But let’s pretend that this wasn’t a limitation. Let’s pretend that the guy has actually stumbled on a way for us to rewire our brains to suit our particular needs. Would that be efficient? The physical positioning of the brain is important too. This is why we store various functions in regions and not all willy-nilly throughout the brain wherever we can. If my brain has two areas it now has to search for memory, does that seem more efficient or less?
Of course, this is all talk straight from the butt. We don’t have these large segments of our brain that aren’t in use. They are clearly not in use all the time, but that doesn’t mean useless or unused. The more you learn about the way we’re wired, the more you can plainly see that this guy’s claim is nothing more than a sham using people’s ridiculous acceptance of a myth as a means to make money.
Want to know how to actually strengthen your brain? Expose it to new stimuli. We know that part of the hippocampus of London taxi drivers are larger than regular people, and it’s safe to say that this isn’t caused by those evolutionarily born with a larger hippocampus naturally gravitating to the job of taxi driver. In the brutal and gruelling process of becoming a London cab driver, the hippocampus grows to accommodate all that is being demanded of it. Find the areas that you wish to improve (I would recommend getting an understanding of your current state by using this tool) and find ways to challenge the brain in the areas where you wish to improve. But giving your money to anyone who promises to turn on that 90% of the brain you aren’t using just shows that you have many areas to improve.