There’s this persistent notion that we use a mere 10 percent of our brains at any given moment. If only we could tap into more of the magnificent, squishy machine in our heads, we’d become quicker, cleverer versions of ourselves. It’d be a lovely idea if it wasn’t a crock of crap.
Although the ten percent notion has been debunked ad nauseum by neuroscientists, its recurrent appearance in pop culture (most recently in the film Lucy) shows that this particular misconception is very much alive and kicking. Now, a team of MIT researchers has put yet another nail in the myth’s proverbial coffin. Their study, shows how our brains fire up in many different cortical regions—ones that were thought to be reserved for separate functions—when we’re performing simple cognitive tasks.