At the center of the central nervous system, protected by the bones of the skull, lies the brain. Commonly referred to as the body’s “Command Center,” the brain serves a variety of purposes that keep other organs functioning via billions of neurons and other cells. Due to the complexity of the body’s most valuable organ, there are several myths regarding the brain that have fooled most of us. So if you still believe that we only use 10 percent of our brain, listen up!
1. “Bigger is Better”
The belief that a bigger brain makes for a smarter person is a common misconception. To prove its inconsistency, we need only look at the brains of different animal species. For example, many insects with brains no larger than the head of a pin are actually as intelligent, and in some cases more so, than much larger animals. While the average whale’s brain can weigh upward of 20 pounds, it would be hard to argue they are more intelligent than humans with a brain weighing, on average, 3 pounds.
2. Alcohol Kills Brain Cells
Worried about how many brain cells you may have killed off after a night of partying? Don’t be. Although alcohol consumption can hinder the job of neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain responsible for communication between the brain and other areas of the body, the effect is reversible. However, prolonged exposure to alcohol abuse can result in the neurological condition Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, also known as “Wet Brain.”
3. Drugs Create Holes In Our Brains
Physical trauma is the only way we can actually put a hole in our brain. While drugs also affect the function of the brain’s neurotransmitters, the effect can be reversed. In the event of chronic drug use, however, the overstimulation and replacement of neurotransmitters like dopamine can result in deterioration of mental functioning over time.
4. We Have 100 Billion Brain Cells
This next myth has even fooled most scientists up until recently. After years’ worth of research that estimated around 100 billion neurons in the human brain, a study published in the 2009 revealed our brains were actually home to approximately 86 billion neurons. Think those 14 billion neurons make for a small difference? Fourteen million neurons are equal to the entire size of a baboon’s brain.
5. We Use 10 Percent Of Our Brain
A recent survey conducted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) revealed that 65 percent of survey respondents were under the impression that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. In reality, we use all of our brains to complete daily tasks like walking to work and breathing. Motor function, speech, and other utilities of the brain require every square inch of the cerebrum, cerebellum, frontal lobes, etc.
6. We Use One Side Of Our Brain More Than The Other
Contrary to popular belief, we do not use one side of our brain more than the other. Self-help books and personality tests would have you believe that people adept in logics and analytics are left-brain dominant, while creative and artistic people are right-brain dominant, but a study that included over 1,000 individual brains revealed no evidence that certain people were more likely to use either the left or right side of the brain.
7. We Only Have 5 Senses
Sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch are only the five traditional senses we recognize. The human brain actually controls much more than five senses. A few examples include thermoception (our sense of hot and cold), equilibrioception (our sense of balance and body movement), and nociception (our sense of pain).