4 Myths about the Brain
Brain Facts or Misconceptions?
4 Myths about the Brain
Despite new scientific findings, myths are tenacious. Partly because new information takes a while to find their way into the media and the public eye. Maybe sometimes we want to believe them and do not care to dig into complex issues.
The following 4 myths about the human brain are very popular and common:
Myth 1 = We only use 10 % of our brain capacity
I am sure you heard very many times that you are only using a tiny part of your brain.
We are only using a very small portion of our brain capacity. Fact. We all have the potential for development. Fact.
Only the assumption is wrong. When our brain activity is being recorded via MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) only a small part of our brain is active. However, it is important to know that different parts of our brain are active at different times.
While our brain represents only 2 % of our total body mass it uses 20 % of the energy. Our body could not supply the energy necessary if all parts of the brain would be active at once.
Myth 2 – Everyone has a dominance of left or right brain hemisphere
An example for a test would be: Grab your nose. Which hand did you use? Left or right?
These tests are without any scientific basis.
There are in fact tools that appear more often in one or the other brain hemisphere. From these average values, it is impossible to conclude which brain hemisphere is the dominating one.
Myth 3 – There are differences between male and female brains
A female brain is very empathetic when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Also, languages are a particular skill of the female brain.
The strength of male brains is in the analytic field and mathematics.
If you were just nodding you are guilty of stereotyping (;
But is it not true that men in IQ tests always have better results in mathematic exercises while women excel in language skill tasks?
Self-fulfilling prophecies and a reflection of these stereotypes. We are conditioned to believe that male and female brains have different skills.
As part of studies conducted by neuroscientists, women have been confronted with words associated to masculinity prior to the tests.
In the following IQ tests, women scored the same results as men. They just believed less that they are inferior to men at mathematical tasks.
Myth 4 – The brain cannot be trained
You can´t teach an old dog new tricks. That´s what many people think about the human brain. The development of intelligence is an extremely complex matter and cannot be explained with dogs.
In principle, intelligence can be distinguished in a crystalline and fluid component. The crystalline intelligence stands for factual intelligence. In example knowledge on capital cities of the world.
The fluid intelligence relates to thinking processes we need for problem-solving. (I.e. deductive thinking.)
The crystalline intelligence can be improved life-long. Until a few years ago it was commonly believed that the fluid intelligence of a person starts decreasing from the twenties on. Newer scientific findings show that we can also train our fluid intelligence at any age.
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