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Thread: Brainy question

  1. #1 Brainy question 
    Forum Freshman MoonWolf's Avatar
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    Hi everyone.

    I've been trying to find a scientific article about the human brain capacity and in particular how much of our brain we actually use.

    I've often heard scientists during interviews say that we never use the whole of our brain capacity, but I've seen a recent debate where one side states categorically that it has been scientificlly proven that we all use 100% of our brains (unless we have been brain damaged somehow).

    I haven't been able to find anything specific about the subject.

    If anybody can send me information or a reference(s) to scientific article(s), I'd be very grateful.


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  3. #2 Re: Brainy question 
    Forum Freshman Carbon14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoonWolf
    Hi everyone.

    I've been trying to find a scientific article about the human brain capacity and in particular how much of our brain we actually use.

    I've often heard scientists during interviews say that we never use the whole of our brain capacity, but I've seen a recent debate where one side states categorically that it has been scientificlly proven that we all use 100% of our brains (unless we have been brain damaged somehow).

    I haven't been able to find anything specific about the subject.

    If anybody can send me information or a reference(s) to scientific article(s), I'd be very grateful.

    Our brains are system that has different parts for different jobs. Therefore there is no need to use all brainparts at same time. The jobs are specified, and all jobs have specified place. So, it is not usefull to use all at same time.


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  4. #3 Re: Brainy question 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoonWolf
    I've often heard scientists during interviews say that we never use the whole of our brain capacity, .
    If they said this then I seriously doubt they were scientists. The brain is an enormously expensive organ for an organism to maintain. It has to deliver results and to do so efficiently. Evolution would not tolerate unused parts, or capacity.

    It might be difficult to find something stating this clearly from an authoratative source, since anyone engaged in this field would fully understand this to be the case. However, these links may of some use to you.

    http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html
    http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1848

    Please note a formatting problem in the second link. There are not 1012 neurons in the brain, but 10^12. (1,000,000,000,000)
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  6. #5  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    pity - otherwise i could have donated the remaining 90% to science
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman MoonWolf's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your replies and the links,
    and also for the touch of humour. :-D
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  8. #7  
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    Well, evolution says that if it's there it's used for something. It's very unlikely that you'll have all that mass sitting there doing nothing.
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  9. #8 Re: Brainy question 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    It has to deliver results and to do so efficiently. Evolution would not tolerate unused parts, or capacity.
    On the other hand, redundant parts and failure modes are common. Having just one fallopian tube would be more efficient.

    Perhaps the human brain is built so that it can partially fail or "go offline" and still perform adequately?

    The octopus brain - and indeed most of the octopus - is built with plenty of redundency. Cephalopods evolved themselves into the awkward position of having the brain wrapped around the esophogus, so every spiny and enraged creature they swallow gets a stab at it. We find that adult giant pacific octopuses normally have a lot of quills buried in their brains. Apparently that's a wear & tear they're built to sustain.

    Among mammals, whales have some redundency as well. Because whales must breathe deliberately, they're always at least partially awake. They nap with one eye open (alternating eyes). An unconfirmed but I think likely hypothesis is that the whale is sleeping with one brain hemisphere at a time. Then the hemispheres would share some redundant functions.

    The human brain, at birth, is built robustly enough to continue functioning after a long period of blood/oxygen deprivation and also being squeezed - like the contents of a water balloon - through a passage much narrower than it. Apparently we begin with more than enough neurons, since brain damage is inevitable. From this wreckage we continue losing brain cells, in a process one may optimistically label "sculpting".
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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