Research by the psychologist Karl Lashley during the 1930s is one of the likely causes behind the perception that we only use ten percent of our brain. Lashley removed most of the cerebral cortex in the brain of rats and other animals and discovered that they could still learn specific skills. In another project neurologist placed electrodes straight on human brains and the results seemed to show large areas to be passive, leading them to conclude that humans only use ten percent of the brain. Some authors even claim that we only use one percent (Buzan, 2003).
Even if the rats could still learn specific skills after an operation like this, it is likely that other brain functions were destroyed. We only have to look at humans who have suffered some form of brain damage, to see that minor damage can result in severe handicap. Modern scanning equipment shows that Lashley and other scientists were wrong. Something as simple as reading out loud involves several parts of the brain. You use specific and different, parts of your brain during activities like eating, running or watching TV. At the end of the day you have used almost all parts of the brain.
One reason this myth has survived is that it has been repeated so often. It has turned into an undebatable fact. What is 100 percent of a brain’s potential? How do we define the potential? It is impossible to say.
Did you know that you only use ten precent of your brain. Buy our book to improve your brain’s potential, the ad says. Instead, we should rather listen to the brain expert who says that if your doctor wants to remove 90 percent of your brain, you should run like hell.