Tag: The Loom

No, for the Umpteenth Time, Your Brain Isn't Hiding Superpowers From You

By Eric Wolff | August 20, 2009 4:15 pm

How many times have sci-fi shows inflicted this situation on us:

Character X: Oh my god I can read minds! And move things with my brain! And start fires! And I’m suddenly becoming hella smart!

Scientist character responsible for explaining things:  Aha! Normally we only use 10 percent of our brains, but Character X is accessing the rest of his brain! Now s/he has super powers!

Me, watching: ARRGG!

Using even a pretty cursory knowledge of neuroscience, one thing is clear: We use our whole brain. We use different sections of it for motor control, for higher thought, for fight or flight reactions, and so on and so forth. When neuroscientists and their many colleagues test the brain to see which parts are doing what, they’re looking at the whole brain, not just 10 percent. So every time the meme pops up in even my favorite shows, I kind of go a little nuts. But I’ve always wondered: Where does this meme come from?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Biology
MORE ABOUT: Carl Zimmer, The Loom
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