We have been studying about a complex organ in our body for centuries and we are still learning a lot about it, Do you know what it is?. Yes, the Brain is the most complex and fascinating organ which is made up of more than 100 billion neurons that can transmit an enormous amount of information through electrochemical signal. The brain is the major organ of the central nervous system and the control center for all the body’s voluntary and involuntary activities. It is also responsible for the complexities of thought, memory, emotion, and language. In adults, this complex organ weighs about 1.4 kilograms. The brain has three major parts, the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem.
- The Cerebrum, which consists of the right and left cerebral hemispheres joined by the corpus callosum, is the sight of most conscious and intelligent activities.
- The Cerebellum, its main functions are the maintenance of posture and the coordination of body movements.
- The Brainstem, which controls vital body functions, such as breathing and digestion.
Myth or Fact?
There are about two third of the people believes that we only use 10 percent of our brain, even 50% of science teachers also do. These are all started in 1908 when William James known as the father of American psychology mentioned in his book, The Energies of Men that “we are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources”. He only meant this a challenge to encourage the people to develop ourselves mentally. But later in 1936 Dale Carnegie mentioned the 10% figure in his book and thus people started to believe this thing. It may also come from a simple confusion that our brain is 10% neurons and 90% glial cells. There are different types of neurons that take care of different functions in our brain but in general your neurons enable you to process and transmit information and glial cells surround our neurons providing them with support and insulation.
How much we actually use our Brain?
For an adult at resting position, our brain consumes about 20% of the body’s overall energy for just breathing, digesting and keeping itself warm, even though our brain makes up only 2% of the body weight. It means that it requires 350 to 450 calories per day just to transmit signals. For 5 years old, their brain consumes over 50% to 60% of the total energy. So imagine how much energy it takes to attain 100% efficiency of your brain at once, even if you can access your brain’s full capacity you can’t use it. Because your brain would be limited by your body’s survival needs. As we have been evolving as a human from 2.4 million years ago, our brain learned to use the necessary parts at any one time , a process called ‘Sparse coding’, with this we can carry the most information using the least energy. Consider your house for an example, it has living room, bedrooms, kitchen etc, and there will be some electrical appliances in each room, so when you are in a particular room, you don’t use all the electrical appliances at once because, you don’t have to when it is unnecessary, that’s what happens with your brain too. We actually use 1 to 16% of our brain for more efficient use of energy. We use more than 10% of our brain even while sleeping, our brain process all the day events and our subconscious data to our conscious memory.
So how can you be smarter? You have to train your brain like a muscle, try to learn new things, stimulate it frequently, take on challenges and get enough sleep. We are using our brain 100% but not at the same time.
“Everything we do, every thought we’ve ever had, is produced by the human brain. But exactly how it operates remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries, and it seems the more we probe its secrets, the more surprises we find”. –Neil deGrasse Tyson