Do People Really Use 10% Of Their Brains Only?

The Legend of Using Ten Percent of Our Brain

The legend that people only use ten percent of their brain is a beseeching concept because it suggests that if the wasted 90 percent of the mind is harnessed, a human being will become more intelligent. As a consequence, people may be driven to work harder, but unfortunately, this is not the case (Tannen & Deborah, 98).

Origins of the Myth

In reality, it's difficult to pinpoint the origins of this myth, but William James, who is the philosopher and also American psychologist highlighted in The Energies of Men in 1908 that people make use of only a little portion of their mental and physical resources (Jarrett & Christian, 50). As a matter of fact, William James was confident that people could achieve more, but not about the brain volume or rather the quantity of cells, and he never specified the percentage. Conversely, I support the fact that people use all their brains and not just ten percent.

Historical References

In the preliminary the 1936 edition of Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book on how to Win Friends and Influence People, there was a mention of the ten percent figure and also there are sayings that Albert Einstein was the source. The brain is complex and hence performs millions of mundane acts, issue manifestos, composes concertos and also comes up with solutions to particular situations (Jarrett & Christian, 57). However, the argument of people using 10% of their brains has only been wrong. Accordingly, the tale is said to have emanated from people’s conceptions about their brains (Jarrett & Christian, 58). In that case, people usually see their weaknesses as the evidence of the untapped existing minds. Conversely, this is not a true assumption, but the reality is that at all times, people usually use all their brain even while at rest as indicated by Gordon (Tannen & Deborah, 111). The mind is said to represent 3% of the total individual’s weight and hence uses about 20% of total body energy.

The Structure and Function of the Brain

The weight of a human brain is said to be averagely three pounds, which comprises of the hefty cerebrum that is the most significant portion which handles all higher cognitive functions. Equally important, the cerebellum is responsible for motor functions such as the coordination of movements and balance (Tannen & Deborah, 113). The brain stem is dedicated to involuntary functions such as breathing. Under those circumstances, the majority of the energy consumed by the brain usually powers the rapid firing of millions of neurons communicating with each other.

Activity of the Brain

The neurologists can put a person on a scanner by the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging technique and know particular body sections are activated when they do things (Jarrett & Christian). However, the research has revealed that most of the brains are usually active throughout just like the body muscles. John Henley says that after a day, 100 percent of the mind is always used (Tannen & Deborah, 115). Furthermore, Henley explains that the frontal cortex that governs the higher level of thinking together somatosensory areas that assist people in sensing the surroundings are always active even in sleep. However, the experts know that those neurons, which perform the same roles usually tend to chunk together. For instance, the neurons which manage the movement of thumbs are arranged next to those that control the forefinger.

The Myth of Ten Percent

There are two phenomena which account for the myth of ten percent. In this case, glial cells are the nine-tenths of the cells within the brain (Tannen & Deborah, 118). Similarly, they are just considered to be support cells that are the white matter that provides both physical and nutritional assistance for the other ten percent of cells, and the neurons which make up the gray matter (Jarrett & Christian, 65). For this reason, people heard that the hard graft is done by only ten percent of the cells and hence assumed that the glial cells can be harnessed too. As an illustration, these are various types of cells, and there is no means in which they can be transformed into neurons to give us extra brain power (Tannen & Deborah, 120).

Neuroplasticity and Synaptic Growth

Consequently, there is rising evidence within the area of neuroplasticity, which shows that people's brains can be changed in learning new things. However, it is not tapping into a new brain area, but just creating new connections between nerve cells. During development, a lot of new synapses are always formed. However, some synapses are usually eliminated later on in development (Tannen & Deborah, 200). In that case, the stage of synaptic growth and elimination always goes on to fine-tune the nerve system wiring. Studies have shown that neurons might not function properly if there is elimination of that neural system input. Conversely, the total impairment of vision can emerge if the visual information is prevented to stimulate eyes early in the development (Jarrett & Christian, 80). However, this suggests that over 90 percent of the brain is used to avoid degeneration of several neural pathways. Moreover, young children have minds that are adaptable, and hence the role of the affected brain in the young child can be handled by the brain tissues which are available.


Every individual would like to be better his or her life. Unfortunately, under those circumstances, there is no unused portion of the brain that can be used to better life (Jarrett & Christian, 96). As a conclusion, it's not that people utilize ten percent of their minds, but rather understand ten percent of how the brain function.

Works Cited

Tannen, Deborah. You just don’t understand: women and men in conversation. New York: Harper, 2007. Print.

Jarrett, Christian. Great myths of the brain. Chi Chester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2015. Print.

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