The Smithsonian website recently carried an article about the complex organ that is our brain, and spoke of some common myths about the brain, which makes for interesting reading –
1. We have often heard this – we use only 10% of our brain.
Though it’s true that we may not use our brains fully all the time and can be motivated to do better, this is a very great exaggeration.
2. ‘Flashbulb Memories’ are precise, detailed and persistent.
This is a myth since flashbulb memories are also prone to decay over time and can get muddled.
3.It’s all downhill after 40 or 50 or 60. While it’s true that new learning and concentration skills are better among the young, many mental skills improve with age.
Vocabulary improves, skills relating to judgement improve, and certainly with age comes wisdom.
4. We have only 5 senses of taste, touch, hearing, seeing and smelling. Additionally we have Proprioception; or the sense of how our bodies are positioned, Nociception or the sense of pain as well as our sense of balance!
5. Brains are like computers. This is not so; the way our brain is constructed and its abilities are very different than a computer.
6. Our brains are hardwired. Not so; in fact our brain can be ‘rewired’ very significantly and in many different ways.
7. Banging your head will cause amnesia. This is not true unless you are in a movie or a TV soap.
8. We know what makes us happy. Consider the point – do you really know what makes you happy?
9.We see the world as it is. Not true, what we perceive is limited by our ability to pay attention, our expectations, and a number of other things.
10.Men are from Mars and Women from Venus. This again is a myth used to explain away behavior.
Certain other brain myths are also worth considering-
- Listening to Mozart will make you smarter. If only it were so simple!
- Smarter means bigger brained. So then does that mean that the sperm whale, whose brain size is five times the human brain is smarter than the average human?
- Subliminal messages can teach you things. In fact subliminal messages have little or no impact.
- Brain damage is always permanent. While it is true that the brain is quite susceptible to injuries, it can also heal itself in a number of situations such as concussion for instance.