Brain Use/40 hertz

Matt Jones jonesmat at ohsu.edu
Thu Dec 31 17:09:13 EST 1998


In article <007001be339f$c2b34de0$231bfbd0 at default> RonBlue, rcb5 at MSN.COM
writes:
>>ninety percent was for. But I guess my question is: What do "people" (namely,
>>those who have some kind of background in neuroscience) mean when they say
>>that we only use ten percent? Does that mean that there are actually places
>>in everyone's brain that remain dormant, never, or hardly ever, used? Or does
>>it mean that at any one time we have ten percent of our brain capacity
>>functioning?

After almost ten years in neuroscience, I've heard this plenty of times
from laypeople and in popular science tv shows and books, but I've never
once heard another card-carrying neuroscientist say anything like this.

I wonder where this idea comes from in the first place? What sort of
_experiment_ could you do to figure out what fraction of the brain is
being used (and you'd also have to have a very precise definition of
"being used": just because a cell isn't firing an action potential
doesn't mean it's not being used)?

I think we use our whole brain all the time. Now, whether or not we're
using it efficiently is another matter.

Matt Jones



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