Jay Giedd on whether humans use only part of the brain

Ever heard that we humans only use a small portion of our brains? Pamela Zamora in Mexico asks the scientists, and Dr. Jay Giedd responds.

Here’s a question from Mexico – about how much of the human brain actually gets used.

Pamela Zamora: Why do we use such a small percentage of our brains?

That was Pamela Zamora from Secundaria Ovalle Monday. And with an answer …

Jay Giedd: Thanks, Pamela. It’s a very good question because it allows me to address one of the most common misunderstandings about our brains. I’m Dr. Jay Giedd, chief of brain imaging at the Child Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health. The truth is that we use 100% of our brains, even when we’re sleeping. Maybe the idea behind this notion that we only use a small percent of our brains – is that we all have the potential to learn more and accomplish more. And I think that’s basically true. But it’s not because a large part of our brain is not being used.

Giedd said even simple tasks, like pushing a button, involve almost all the parts of the brain.

Jay Giedd: It’s never a matter of one part of the brain being active and the others being inactive, or asleep. It’s always a matter of some more active than others, depending on what tasks we’re doing.

Our thanks to Pamela Zamora and Dr. Jay Giedd.
Our thanks to the Monsanto Fund, bridging the gap between people and their resources.

Our thanks to:
Dr. Jay Giedd
Chief of Brain Imaging
National Institute of Mental Health

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Lindsay Patterson