It might be the most common myth about our brain. It is not certain how this falsehood began, but it has been strengthened over the past century by misinterpretations of neuroscience discoveries and unsubstantiated quotes, and it has also been used in many sci-fi movies. But what’s the real fact?



You only use 10 percent of your brain.



You virtually use all of your brain. Though the 10-percent myth is widespread, recent neuroimaging technology has conclusively destroyed this falsehood. While not all of the brain is active all at once, functional magnetic resonance images (fMRI) show several brain areas are at work for any given activity, depending on what function is needed.

For example: as you are reading this article, let’s say you are eating a sandwich. As you are reading, the frontal lobes in your cerebral cortex are engaged in thinking and reasoning. You are enjoying your delicious sandwich thanks to your parietal lobes, which are responsible for taste, texture and smell of food. The occipital lobes help to process the words you see on this page, and the temporal lobes help you process what you hear—like the crunch of your sandwich and the rustle of the page.

Meanwhile, it is because of your cerebellum that you are able to hold the sandwich in your hand, as well as sit. Moreover, even without having to think about it, you are breathing, digesting and circulating blood thanks to your brainstem. And you’ll remember what you’re reading thanks to your hippocampus, whose job it is to transfer short-term to long-term memory. It also enables you to remember that the point of this elaborate example is that you use much more than 10% of your brain.