Do we use only 10% of the brain? This and other myths about the workings of the mind


O Neurosciences has made a strong leap in recent years in terms of scientific divulgation refers to. And that allowed us to demystify some beliefs we had about the brain and its potential. It was believed, for example, that one hemisphere was responsible for logical and one creative tasks, or that, for example, you could have the power of telepathy or clairvoyance.

"We live in a world of constant confusion between what is true and what is not, this is a society imbued with magical thinking, with supernatural beings, with false truths," says Francisco Mora, a neuroscientist. University of Oxford and author of & # 39; Myths & Truths of the Brain & # 39;

Then three myths widely publicized.

1) The brain allows you to read the mind, move objects or guess the future

There are those who believe that some people are able to read the minds of others (telepathy), guess the future (clairvoyance) or move objects without touching them (telekinesis). These abilities come from magical thinking, fear and deception. "Does not exist no well-documented and well-founded study in solid research, using the scientific method, which endorses these mental powers in the human being, "said the neuroscientist.

2) The right hemisphere is the creative hemisphere and the left hemisphere is logical

It is believed that there are tasks that correspond to right hemisphere and others left according to their presumed ability. This is thought because it was considered that the right part is creative and artistic, and the left is logical. "The brain is divided into two parts or halves, which are the hemispheres, one right and one left, but do not act separately, but vice versa, both are physically and functionally connected through a is known by the name of corpus callosum. The brain works as a whole because of the constant transfer of information from one hemisphere to another, "Mora said, dismissing the myth.

"The existence of more related or selective talents and capacities for the mathematics this for art, or for sciences versus letters, does not correlate with the functional dominance of either hemisphere, but with the performance of the final joint function of both hemispheres and their interaction with the familiar environment and the culture in which they live. ", The professor argued.

3) We use only 10% of our brain

This should be one of the more widespread myths. "In both its anatomy and the many functions it expresses throughout the individual's life, the brain requires its full integrity," Mora writes. If the myth were true, What could biologically justify all this waste of resources? Because, moreover, the human brain is a very expensive organ to maintain: its weight is only 2% of the total organism, but it needs to consume 20% of the total oxygen we breathe so that the energy necessary for its production is produced. maintenance With these premises, is it possible to think that evolution has been so clumsy as to allow this enormous expenditure of energy in such a useless and permanent way? "

For Mora, the fact that this belief persists also hides "spurious possible methods to help us achieve, without much effort, using a greater percentage of this incredible potential. "

Another myth: Twenty-five years ago, the scientific journal Nature published an article proclaiming that pre-university students who had listened to Mozart's piano sonata for ten minutes temporarily increased their intellectual capacity significantly. The work had a huge public impact and therefore the birth of "the Mozart effect"Later, it was shown that the study was wrong, which only served to sell more CDs of Mozart and that, in fact, any stimulus can help in those moments.


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