What is the Capacity of our Brain?

"we use only 10 % of our brain capacity"

Is this information true ? Where it was originated ? How do you measure "brain capacity" ? For what ?

There is an interesting consequence if this figure is true. We know that natural selection gradually leads to the atrophy of organs which are not used (e.g.: the tail, the appendix, or the third molar teeth). Therefore, if we are not using our full brain capacity (at least in 99.9 % of mankind), one would expect a decrease in the number of neurons.

Dr. Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD, Psychobiologist

Comment 6

I have also heard that we use 10% percent of our brain capacity, many times. I think that the statement is not supposed to be interpreted in an absolute sense but instead it is related to time: "to realize a certain everyday operation [at time (t)] our brain activates not much more than 10% of its neurons. For example, in reading and writing we use specific areas of our frontal-parietal and temporal lobes and these, if i'm not mistaking, are activate in sequence: at time (t0) area-A, at (t1) area-b, (t3) area-c,..... so on. On the other hand if we were to use 100% of our brain capacity while, for example, driving there would probably be a gross short-circuit: there would be no higher level elaboration of information and the cognitive system would simply stall.

Back to the beggining of this discussion

comment 7

Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD

Copyright 1997 Universidade Estadual de Campinas