5 Common Myths about the Brain

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MYTH HUMANS USE ONLY 10 PERCENT OF THEIR BRAIN FACT - The 10 percent myth (sometimes elevated to 20) is mere urban legend, one perpetrated by the plot of the 2011 movie Limitless, which pivoted around a wonder drug that endowed the protagonist with prodigious memory and analytical powers. In the classroom, teachers may entreat students to try harder, but doing so will not light up “unused” neural circuits; academic achievement does not improve by simply turning up a neural volume switch. MYTH “LEFT BRAIN” and “RIGHT BRAIN” PEOPLE DIFFER FACT - The contention that we have a rational left brain and an intuitive, artistic right side is fable: humans use both hemispheres of the brain for all cognitive functions. The left brain/right brain notion originated from the realization that many (though not all) people process language more in the left hemisphere and spatial abilities and emotional expression more in the right. Psychologists have used the idea to explain distinctions between different personality types. In education, programs emerged that advocated less reliance on rational “left brain” activities. Brain-imaging studies show no evidence of the right hemisphere as a locus of creativity. And the brain recruits both left and right sides for both reading and math. MYTH YOU MUST SPEAK ONE LANGUAGE BEFORE LEARNING ANOTHER Facts via Scientific American.

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