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What Would Happen If You Use 100% of Your Brain

What Would Happen If You Use 100% of Your Brain


Are you ready for your head to spin?? science’s hottest topic is…. You! Well, your brain, that is! It’s really what makes you, you. Your brain is an amazing thing. It’s the body’s control system; it tells the body what to do, right down to telling your heart to keep beating…but guess what?? We don’t even use our whole brain! Well, not all the time, anyway. Scientists – especially neurologists, (doctors who study the brain) love talking about brain function. Strangely enough, so does Hollywood; the question of how much of our brain we use is a popular theme in movies and TV shows too. …And my head I’d be a scratch in’, While my thoughts are busy hatch in’, If I only had a brain…(Uh, that’s posted inside my locker at work…) Our brain does a whole lot for us, but what would happen if we used our entire brain capacity? And why does this question seem to come up every where, across so many fields of study?? It’s discussed in medicine, education, and  pop culture. What’s all the excitement about? Well, let’s get our answer by starting with a new question: how much of our brains do we actually use? And no, it’s not the popular “10% myth”.

10% myth

That was debunked by numerous studies, and neurologist Barry Gordon in Scientific American. The “10% myth” has been given way too much credit in films and other media, so most people started believing it was true. It turns out that most of our brain is active most of the time, but not all parts may be working 100% at the same time. This is true even when we’re sleeping – because we’re most likely dreaming, right? Even dreaming takes a lot of brain activity. The exact percentage we’re using is different from person to person too. So we can’t calculate the precise percentage, but you probably use every part of your brain every day – just not all at once. The brain is very complex and has many small parts, so let’s just take a look at the basic parts of the brain and their functions.

Basic brain functions

 There are three main large parts: the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. In addition to our physical functions like walking, playing sports, or blinking, (blinking? Well yeah.) Our brain controls functions that we don’t even think about – like our heartbeat keeping our blood pumping, our lungs allowing us to breathe, and our digestive system working so that we get nutrients from food. On top of all of that, our brains also allow us to have thoughts, to feel emotions, and to have memories. Plus, your brain can store all the information we gather by using our five senses – sight, smell, touch, tasting, and hearing. This is why you can remember a taste, like Grandma’s apple pie. Yum! Most of the higher functions, like those concerning motions and processing what your five senses pick up, take place in the cerebrum; it’s the largest part of your brain, and contains your “left brain” and “right brain.” This part of the brain also fine-tunes complex movement, so that you can dance ballet, swim, or dribble a basketball. (Well maybe YOU can…me, not so much.) The cerebellum handles our larger coordination skills so that we can walk, sit, stand, adjust our posture, and balance. This part of the brain also controls speech, so that we can talk to each other and understand what’s being said to us. For example, the cerebellum is working really hard for a toddler who’s just learning to walk and talk. It also allows us to learn new movement and coordination. (Well, maybe ballet isn’t entirely off the table…) The brain stem is at the base of the brain, and attached to our spinal cord; without it, we couldn’t move at all! It also controls our swallowing, our heart rate, and our breathing. The brain stem is also what tells us that we’re sleepy, or that it’s time to be awake. Whew, talk about multi-tasking! So where does this “brain capacity” question come in? Remember, we use most of our brain all the time, but not every part all the time. Sleep is a good example of this concept, and we’ll keep it basic; when you’re sleeping, you’re using your brain stem, which allows you to fall asleep and stay asleep, and probably most of your cerebrum, so that you can dream. But you probably aren’t using a whole lot of your cerebellum, because you aren’t talking or moving much when you’re sleeping (unless you’re a sleep-walker). Now back to our question:

What if we used 100% of these functions 100% of the time?

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Would we be able to move objects and hear people’s thoughts, like in the movies? Sorry, but…no. For one thing, we would get really tired; using all of your brain at the same time would require just about all of the blood circulation you have, which would rob other organs of what they need. The body would actually go into “survival mode” from the resulting lack of oxygen: different organs would start to shut down, in priority order. Secondly, running a brain that’s using 100%capacity would be so powerful that it would require all the energy we’ve got; we would need constant fuel. In other words, we would be hungry all the time…well, that sounds like me already! Anyway, our stomachs might not be able to keep up with all the digestion the constant eating would require. Sounds like a bad tummy ache! In addition to all those physical problems, a brain using full capacity would also mean that our neurons would be firing all the time. In other words, we would be processing sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound at a super high speed, which means we’d be processing and analyzing information constantly. Doing all of this at the same time might make our judgement a little cloudy…we might become a danger to ourselves! We’ve evolved to the exact point that we’re supposed to be: where body and brain are balanced. So however you want to look at it: if we used100% brain capacity, our brains would be too powerful for our bodies to handle; or our bodies would be too weak for our brains. Using 100%  capacity of our brains just isn’t in the cards for us right now – not physically, mentally, or scientifically. There’s just no evolutionary purpose. Sorry if that was a little bit of a letdown! But who knows what our scientific or evolutionary future holds. Because our brains and our bodies work in sync, we can push them both, simultaneously, to our very highest potential! Want to improve your body? Start a workout routine and give your body a healthy diet. Want to stretch your brain? Do jigsaw puzzles, step up your reading game, play Sudoku…whatever challenges you!

What our learning capacity is limited by

Some think that humans just aren’t living up to their full potential…but that’s simply not true! If we weren’t, we wouldn’t have our amazing progress in science and technology; we wouldn’t have the medical capabilities that we do, either. It’s because the brain’s capacity for learning is a different story; how much we can learn in a lifetime is not limited by our brain’s storage capacity. While this, too, isn’t infinite, our learning capacity is limited more by things like attention span, getting poor sleep, and whether we met certain age milestones, or for me, whether I lose my marbles entirely, or just one at a time! But this is perhaps another topic for another day! When it comes to our brains and our bodies, we get what we give…or lose! How about you? Do you know of any brain myths or interesting facts about the brain?? If so, let me know in the comments down below! And if this video really gave your brain a workout, give it a like and share it with a friend! But don’t go away just yet – we have over 2,000 brain-worthy videos for you to soak up – just click on the left or right. Stay on the Bright Side of life!

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