Five Lies (you probably believe) about your Brain

 You only use ten percent of your brain.FACT: The 10 percent myth is an old legend,  given new life by the plot of the 2011 movie Limitless, which pivoted around a wonder drug that endowed the protagonist with prodigious memory and analytical powers. In truth, the brain is highly active across its entirety just about all the time, even when we are spacing out or sleeping.


“Left Brain” and “Right Brain” people are different.
FACT:  The contention that we have a rational left brain and an intuitive, artistic right side is fable: humans use both hemispheres of the brain for all cognitive functions. The left brain/right brain notion originated from the realization that many (though not all) people process language more in the left hemisphere and spatial abilities and emotional expression more in the right. Psychologists have used the idea to explain distinctions between different personality types. But, recent brain-imaging studies show no evidence of the right hemisphere as a locus of creativity. And the brain recruits both left and right sides for both reading and math.

Brain damage is always permanent.
FACT: The brain can repair or compensate for certain losses, and even generate new cells.
People once believed that we were born with a finite number of brain cells, and that was it for life; if you damaged any of them you could never get them back. Similarly, many scientists believed that the brain was unalterable; once it was “broken,” it could not be fixed. Now we know that the brain remains plastic throughout life, and can rewire itself in response to learning. It can also generate new brain cells under the right circumstance.

Mental capacity is hereditary and cannot be changed by environment or experience.FACT: Mental abilities do have a genetic component, but they are also heavily influenced by environmental factors, and rely on adequate experience in order to develop.

Your brain stops growing as you age. FACT: For many years it was believed that once the brain fully matured by 30 years of age, there is no more brain growth. This led to the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. False! One of the biggest discoveries in neuroscience in the 21stcentury was the fact that our brains can grow new neurons at old age. Many factors assist in nerve cell growth. Picking up challenging tasks, taking up new hobbies, novel experiences – all stimulate new nerve cells. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and aids in neurogenesis. Why is this important? Because the formation of new nerve cells and new nerve connections keeps the brain young and active. This protects against memory problems, cognitive decline, dementia, and the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease.

B is for Brain! Post to of the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge

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2 Responses to Five Lies (you probably believe) about your Brain

  1. Linda Curry says:

    Obviously doing A to Z has got to be good for us and will stimulate new brain cells. Win Win.

  2. Hari OM
    LOL, I was thinking as Linda said! FACT; having experienced the learning process of an Indian gurukula over a period of years, I found that I was able to widen my capacity beyond anything I could ever have dreamed before going there… aged 52! Never stop learning was always a motto – but it became a mantra there. YAM xx

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