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How to Use More Than 10 Percent of our Brain

If you ask around your community you will find that most of the people believe that we only use 10% of our brain power. In the US, 65% of the people believe in the 10% brain usage theory. In fact this myth is as false as the evolution explained by Darwin and known today as the theory of the Darwinism which is a theory of biological evolution, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. In other words it a scientific theory stating that all humans are all originated from apes and by developing our brain capacity we have evolved to the beings we are today. The theory explains that the animals are only using between 3 to 5 percent of their brain capacity but humans were able to develop their minds a step further reaching 10% of our brain’s capacity making us evolve from apes we ones were to modern homo sapiens we became today.

 The Ten-Percent theory

It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of the brain’s capacity. Imagine if we could access 100 percent?

Unless you have a traumatic brain injury or other neurological disorder, you already have access to 100 percent of your brain! Your brain is available all the time, even when you’re sleeping. Even the most basic functions of your brain use more than 10 percent—your hindbrain and cerebellum, which control automatic bodily functions like breathing and balance, make up 12 percent of your brain, and you definitely need those just to stay alive.

The Ten-Percent claim pops up all the time. In 1998, national magazine ads for U.S. Satellite Broadcasting showed a drawing of a brain. Under it was the caption, "You only use 11 percent of its potential." Well, they're a little closer than the ten-percent figure, but still off by about 89 percent. In July 1998, ABC television ran promotional spots for The Secret Lives of Men, one of their offerings for the fall season's lineup. The spot featured a full-screen blurb that read, "Men only use ten percent of their brains." By using 100% of our brain capacity some scientists believe that it will be the moment where we reach extraordinary mental abilities and even get super or unnatural powers such as controlling other people’s minds, flying or seeing other dimensions.

One reason this myth has endured is that it has been adopted by psychics and other paranormal pushers to explain psychic powers. On more than one occasion I've heard psychics tell their audiences, "We only use ten percent of our minds. If scientists don't know what we do with the other ninety percent, it must be used for psychic powers!" In Reason To Believe: A Practical Guide to Psychic Phenomena, author Michael Clark mentions a man named Craig Karges. Karges charges a lot of money for his "Intuitive Edge" program, designed to develop natural psychic abilities. Clark quotes Karges as saying: "We normally use only 10 to 20 percent of our minds. Think how different your life would be if you could utilize that other 80 to 90 percent known as the subconscious mind."

This was also the reason that Caroline Myss gave for her alleged intuitive powers on a segment of Eye to Eye with Bryant Gumbel, which aired in July of 1998. Myss, who has written books on unleashing "intuitive powers," said that everyone has intuitive gifts, and lamented that we use so little of the mind's potential. To make matters worse, just the week before, on the very same program, correct information was presented about the myth. In a bumper spot between the program and commercials, a quick quiz flashed onscreen: What percentage of the brain is used? The multiple-choice answers ranged from 10 percent to 100 percent. The correct answer appeared which I was glad to see. But if the producers knew that what one of their interviewees said is clearly and demonstrably inaccurate, why did they let it air? Does the right brain not know what the left brain is doing? Perhaps the Myss interview was a repeat, in which case the producers presumably checked her facts after it aired and felt some responsibility to correct the error in the following week's broadcast. Or possibly the broadcasts aired in sequence and the producers simply did not care and broadcast Myss and her misinformation anyway.

Even Uri Geller, who has made a career out of trying to convince people he can bend metal with his mind, trots out this little gem. This claim appears in his book Uri Geller's Mind-Power Book in the introduction: "Our minds are capable of remarkable, incredible feats, yet we don't use them to their full capacity. In fact, most of us only use about 10 per cent of our brains, if that. The other 90 per cent is full of untapped potential and undiscovered abilities, which mean our minds, are only operating in a very limited way instead of at full stretch. I believe that we once had full power over our minds. We had to, in order to survive, but as our world has become more sophisticated and complex we have forgotten many of the abilities we once had" (italicized phrases emphasized in original).

Evidence against the Ten-Percent Myth

Brain imaging research techniques such as PET scans (positron emission tomography) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) clearly show that the vast majority of the brain does not lie fallow. Indeed, although certain minor functions may use only a small part of the brain at one time, any sufficiently complex set of activities or thought patterns will indeed use many parts of the brain. Just as people don't use all of their muscle groups at one time, they also don't use all of their brain at once. For any given activity, such as eating, watching television, making love, or reading, you may use a few specific parts of your brain. Over the course of a whole day, however, just about all of the brain is used at one time or another. 

Basic biology also tells us that it’s unlikely we’re leaving 90 percent of the brain unused. Unused cells tend to atrophy; for instance, muscle atrophy occurs in people who have a broken arm in a sling for several weeks. Parts of the brain we aren’t using would also atrophy—and this is actually what happens when our brains are deprived of blood flow or oxygen, as happens during a stroke or heart attack. Terri Schiavo was in a vegetative state for 15 years after she went into cardiac arrest, which damaged 50 percent of her brain. Even damage to small, specific portions of the brain can drastically affect day-to-day functioning, leaving people unable to talk, read, or understand language. Losing 90 percent of your brain would be catastrophic and almost certainly fatal.

There is a way to measure what parts of the brain are actively working. Neuroscientists often measure brain activity by identifying the places in which brain cells, called neurons, are sending chemical and electrical signals to other neurons. Another interpretation is the restriction of having only 10 percent of our neurons are firing at any given time. But this interpretation doesn’t fare much better: By any measure of brain activity, more than 10 percent is being used, and in any case, you don’t want 100 percent of your neurons firing at once, because that would constitute a killer seizure.

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