Brain Use

kkollins at kkollins at
Thu Dec 24 20:33:16 EST 1998

Krakatoa wrote:
> In article <75rna7$649$1 at>, sgarriott at wrote:
> > I know that this may be a strange question, but I've always heard that old
> > cliché that human beings on the average only use about ten percent of their
> > brains.

> > [...]

> The question, which is common, actually reflects a basic misunderstanding
> about the way the brain is organized. Most parts of the brain has
> specialized functions which is the only thing (or collection of related
> things) that part of the brain does.

While I do =not= argue that there is not relatively-static,
highly-dynamic, and on-a-continuum-in-between "specialization" (there
=is=), all that's necessary to see that the position you've taken is
False is the stuff of the "lost-limb" studies... if it was as you say,
there'd be no plasticity in which the cortical areas that were devoted
to the control of the now-absent limb are put to excellent use through
sprouting... if it were as you say, these plastic dynamics would not
occur... but they do. And, when one follows things back from cortex,
voila... 100% of the subcortical stuff becomes subjected to the same
needing-to-be-able-to-adapt Physical Reality.

> Some parts of the brain are more
> domain-general, but they represent small parts of the brain, and they are
> also probably used very heavily by everything.

The single most-significant feature of the organically-intact functional
neuroanatomy is its Total Integration... what you say pertains =only= to
organically-damaged brains. The poster's Q was with respect to
organically-intact brains.

> So back to the original question, most of the brain is devoted to sensory,
> motor, or regulatory function. 

What you say is drastically-over-simplified... creativity, curiosity,
volition, thought, etc., all happen in the =same= neural topology as do
"sensory", "motor" and "regulatory" function... there is not a single
neruon in the brain that is exclusively "sensory", "motor" and
"regulatory"... although there's no all-to-all connectedness, the
brain's functioning is, never-the-less, 100% integrated throughout the
neural topology... the hormone excreted by the pituitary affects the
activation "states" that occur in "motor" cortex.

This whole "motor"/"sensory" conceptualization is =Archaic=.

Neurons are "located" within the neural topology for =one= Reason... to
align behavior with the energy gradients that exist in the external
environments so that behaviors manifested will, over the long term,
"move away from" what's described by 2nd thermo (wdb2t; which I
discussed in another thread, using bacterial chemotaxis as a working

There are no "motor" neurons, and there are no "sensory" neurons...
there are =only= neurons that form the topological-distribution of
neurons that will perform as above.

> For example, I think somewhere in the range
> of half of the cortex is visual, so as long as your eyes are open you are
> using half of the brain.

Beyond what's above, which holds exquisitely with respect to the
Classical visual Neuroanatomy, the "visual areas" are highly-involved in
the brain's active information-processing dynamics during sleeping
consciousness (msg for more if it's wanted).

> And even if you are making relatively small
> coordinated movements you are recruiting several large areas involved in
> movement (e.g., motor cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum). And of course
> you are generally recording some aspects of your experience, which means
> you are involving several memory regions.  So yes, you are using most of
> your brains capacity, most of the time. Even sleep requires a great deal
> of brain function!  Hearing the phone ring, picking it up, having a short
> conversation, and remembering 5 words of what was said probably recruits
> 95% of the brain.

And anything that's "quiescent" is actively-quiescent... it's =always=

(I note you've "learned a lot" in going from one paragraph to the next

> Now as far as the 10% figure, this is just a myth. 

But one that's been so-tirelessly repeated... Sadly.

> It is based on several
> moronic assumptions all of which are untrue. One of these is that the
> brain is domain-general and works by mass action; this is patently false,
> at least for many brain regions, particularly those which occupy most of
> the brain (sensory, motor, and regulatory functions).

You should've studied Lashley's work until you saw what's in it. It
flat-out discloses the total Integration of the brain's functioning.

> The second is that
> all neurons can fire at maximal rates and can have maximal metabolism
> simultaneously (because the 10% estimate is based on theoretical metabolic
> maximums). Of course, the latter is totally false since this would only
> happen during a life threatening grand mal seizure and would not reflect
> higher brain function.

It's =aproximated= during the commonly-occurring startle response.

> So think about it this way, consider you are driving down the street in
> your car at 30 mph. The car is a Camaro and is capable of 150 mph. The
> heater is set to 72 degrees but is capable of heating the car to 105. The
> radio is set to 85 dB but is capable of 110.  The A/C is off, but is also
> capable of being on. The rear defroster is off, but is capable of being
> on. The brakes are not being operated, but are capable of stopping the
> car.  Do you get my picture? Do you really feel that driving the car at 30
> mph is using only 10% of its capacity, or it being used to its full
> capacity, even though many systems are not recruited to the arbitrary
> theoretical maximum at any given time?

Oh, Stephan... I've just seen that you are the "volcanic erruption" guy,
and this Saddens me...

...but your analysis is False... within the brain's
information-processing dynamics (which is all the brain does), the
Ability to function Maximally to which you refer, above, Derives as a
function of experientially-driven neural activation. Without such, the
neural dynamics tend toward Chaos (see the sensory-deprivation
literature, for instance), and to the degree of such, the
information-processing Work that a brain can achieve is commensurately
diminished... in other words, Rigorously-proportionately-more of the
brain's =always= 100% utilization goes to Waste, be-cause Chaotic
processes tend toward "random walks" which "go nowhere".

You should get a copy of AoK and study it... everything is Resolved
within it (although it's stuff is a couple of decades old, and
non-Existent "time" is invoked in it... just do the Maths to transform
between non-Existent "time" and the Physically-Real one-way flow of
energy from order to disorder that is what that which has been referred
to as "time" is... wdb2t.)

> Cheers,
> Stephan

=Please= don't use pseudonyms in msgs to me... and when I tell you that
I'm going to move something "'center-stage' immediately", please do not
doubt that such'll happen. I "move away from" Waste, and wouldn't've
said it as I did if I'd not already done it.

The other thing to understand is that the circumstances in which I
"Exist" make no allowance for "beating-around-the-bush"... every day
lost is counted in Lives, and I cannot disHonor such. If you don't
understand these "seemingly 'mysterious'" things, Understand =First=,
then, please do, have at it. ken

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list