Do humans use 100% of their brain? : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread

Is William James the only one to state that humans only use 10% of the brain?

-- Laura J. Martinez (, September 04, 2001


Where did William James states this? I believe the myth about humans using only 10% of their brain came from a misinterpretation of the results a neurological study done in the 1940s(?). I think it is described in Carlson's famous text on physiological psychology. It is, of course, completely false. [Addendum, 24 May 2004: There is a "box" describing the origin of this myth in James W. Kalat (1995) Biological Psychology (5th ed.), p. 53, "Digression 2.2."]

-- Christopher Green (, September 04, 2001.

see the Skeptical Inquirer article about this at:

-- Christopher Green (, September 05, 2001.

I am not so sure as to what percent of the brain we use, but the theory involving humans only using a small percent of their brains, is resonable.Perhaps we only use 10% of our brains, which means that it we use 100% of our brains, we would have unimaginable potential.

-- Lillian Rosebeck (, April 20, 2002.

See Barry Beyerstein's chapter, "Whence cometh the myth that we use only 10% of our brains?" in Della Salla (Ed.)(1999). _Mind Myths:exploring popular assumptions about the mind and brain_. Part of the chapter explains the falsity of the 10% belief.

-- Christopehr Green (, April 21, 2002.

i think that we do use 100% of our brain and we are at our full capacity.

-- bob (, April 26, 2004.

I don't think that we use 100% of our brains but i don't think we use only 10%. There are billions of humans in the world and we may all use a different amount or we may just use the same amount in a different way. I think that it is a scientific mystery....never to be uncovered

-- melissa joyce culling (, May 09, 2004.

It is surprising that this continues to be a question. The idea that we "use" anything substantially less that 100% of our brains (and the concommitant notion that if we, somehow, were able to "use" all of it we would be smarter) is a (very confused) myth, based on a popular misinterpretation of the state of our knowledge about the brain as it stood in the 1930s. Please read the Beyerstein chapter I cited above, or take a look at "Digression 2.2" on p. 53 in the 5th ed. of J.W. Kalat's _Biological Psychology_.

-- Christopher Green (, May 09, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ