Top 10 Myths About the Human Brain

The brain is a remarkable part of the human body. It is believed that the human brain can generate about 23 watts of electrical power, which would be enough to power a small light bulb. Although there are some amazing facts about the brain, there is still a lot that we are still trying to learn.

Misinformation from the past has given rise to various myths about the human brain. Here are the top 10 myths about the human brain and how they are debunked.

Related: 10 cool ways to hack your brain

10 Brain size affects intelligence

Bigger is better, right? That’s not really the case when it comes to the human brain. Intelligence is not determined by brain size, but by synapses, which are connections between neurons in the brain. Intelligence is more related to the volume of the frontal lobe and the volume of the gray matter than to the size of the brain.

Some studies have tried to connect taller individuals with larger brains. Data has shown that taller people may have slightly larger brains than shorter people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that taller people are smarter. Brain size or intelligence cannot be determined by height alone, and cognitive ability is not only determined by brain size. It’s okay if you’re short; size isn’t everything… at least when it comes to the brain.[1]

9 Alcohol kills brain cells

A common myth that you’ve probably heard a few times is that alcohol kills brain cells. Research shows that alcohol does not kill your brain cells. But instead, it can affect brain function and cause other serious problems. For example, excessive or excessive drinking for long periods of time can damage the ability of neurons to send messages to each other. This can lead to memory loss, lack of muscle coordination, and amnesia.

Moderate alcohol consumption doesn’t affect your brain in the same way, and studies show that moderate alcohol consumption may even have some health benefits. So here’s a toast to the brain, but don’t overdo it.[2]

8 We only use 10% of our brain

A common myth about the brain is that we only use a small part of the brain’s potential. You have probably seen several movies that give humans the chance to unlock the full potential of their brain, but these are just fiction. The truth is that we always use much more than 10% of our brain. This myth is commonly used by teachers and motivational speakers to help us unlock our full potential, but the 10% myth is nothing more than an urban legend that has possibly been around since the early 20th century.

Research shows that almost all regions of the brain are active except in those with some form of brain damage. The brain is thought to use around 20% of our body’s energy, and it makes little sense that such a small part of the brain consumes so much energy. Brain imaging has also shown that there is no area of ​​a healthy brain that is totally inactive.[3]

7 Brain function declines as you age

The brain reaches its full development around age 25, and cognitive abilities don’t change much after that. Therefore, it is up to us to protect our brain as we age in order to maintain wisdom and knowledge. A great way to help protect your brain is to lead a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, and being socially active.

Implicit memory is largely unaffected as we age, which includes remembering the lyrics to your favorite songs. The ability to complete tasks is part of motor memory and is also maintained with age. However, there is a difference between healthy aging and developing a medical condition, and they affect the brain differently. Forgetting where you left your keys or account password is part of healthy aging, but if cognitive abilities begin to decline rapidly, then it’s important to see a doctor.[4]

6 Babies who listen to classical music are smarter

The Mozart Effect is just another myth that we have been fed for years. The story goes that babies listening to Mozart or other classical music can increase their intelligence. Pregnant women have been known to play Mozart at full volume or even press their headphones hard against their stomachs for the baby to hear. Unfortunately, there is no definitive evidence to support this method.

In 1993, a small study (36 students) showed that college students who listened to Mozart showed improvement in special reasoning. However, nothing suggested that any improvement would be seen in children or unborn babies. Musician Don Campbell even published a book claiming that Mozart’s music contained miraculous powers that could enrich lives. Since these claims came to light, a study by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research found no evidence that classical music could increase a child’s intelligence. Good to know: I don’t know of many little kids who would want to hear it.[5]

5 Brain games improve memory and reasoning skills

Brain training games can be fun, but there is little evidence to show that they improve memory or intelligence. These games have become one of the newest and most entertaining ways to sharpen the brain and are advertised to provide the user with a wide range of brain benefits. There has been a lot of debate as to whether these mind games offer any boost to the brainpower of the users.

In a consensus report from the Stanford Center on Longevity, they found that brain games show little evidence of improvements in cognitive abilities. They point out that it can be more productive to spend time on activities that benefit everyday life, such as reading, socializing, exercising and gardening. There may be evidence that a small percentage could benefit from these games, such as older adults who might be dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. But for the most part, mind games are just a myth sold to us by companies looking to profit. I think it’s time to remove all those apps![6]

4 Left-brained and right-brained people are different.

Everyone has different talents and personalities, but there is no evidence to show that these differences are caused by half-brain dominance. The right and left sides of the brain specialize in different tasks. The right side is more creative, while the left side is more analytical. A study conducted by the University of Utah in 2013 found no evidence that people have a dominant side of the brain.

So why do we try to believe that we have to be left brained or right brained? We humans love to classify ourselves into different types of groups. It may also be because we have a dominant side when it comes to our hands, feet, and even our eyes. If you believe this myth, these distinctions can help limit your potential. Well, all those tests in psych class were a complete waste of time.[7]

3 The brain works better under pressure.

You may think you work better under pressure, but usually you don’t. The pressure of meeting a deadline may motivate you to work harder, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will result in better brain performance. Instead, the pressure can stress the human brain, resulting in tasks not being executed correctly.

Studies have shown that stress creates a more difficult environment for your brain to function, interfering with the brain’s ability to learn and translate ideas into meaningful information. These studies have shown that procrastinators tend to make more mistakes than people who work on a longer time scale. We all react differently to certain situations, but the truth is that the brain doesn’t normally work its best when it’s under pressure.[8]

2 The human brain is the largest

The human brain weighs around three pounds, but a sperm whale’s brain can weigh up to 20 pounds, which is the largest of any animal species. However, a bigger brain does not mean that the animal will be smarter. Instead, what really matters is the size of the brain in relation to the size of the body. In other words, a comparison between the weight of the brain and the total weight of the animal.

Some smaller animals have larger brains relative to their size than larger animals. It is said that the human brain is the largest in relation to the size of its body. However, this is not true for all parts of the brain. The area of ​​the brain that processes smell, also known as the olfactory bulb, is smaller in relative size than that of an opossum.[9]

1 IQ stays the same throughout life

A person’s IQ is likely to rise and fall as they age, showing that their IQ will not stay the same throughout their lives. Our ability to remember information will peak at age 18, but emotional intelligence can improve up to age 30. Studies show that our life experiences and school-related experiences change the way our brain works and can contribute to these fluctuating IQ scores.

However, determining a person’s IQ is never an exact science. Some teachers believe that a margin of error around an IQ score could be plus or minus 5 or 6 points at any given time. They also believe that you should be careful how you measure intelligence because IQ is a relative concept. The test determines how well you score on a test compared to other people of the same age. An actual IQ can be hard to determine, but there’s a lot of agreement that it will fluctuate quite a bit as we get older.[10]

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