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What does the other 90% of our brains do?

If we only use around 10% of our brains what does the other 90% do?
Charlotte Mason from West Yorkshire (age 15-24)

Do we only use 5% of our brain, if so why?
Sarah from Lancashire (age 5-14)

What percentage of your brain do you use and also what do you use the rest for?
Matt Wilmot from Somerset (aged 15-25)

If we only use a percentage of out brain why do we have the rest?
Melissa Devenish from Somerset  (aged 15-25)

I’ve heard that we only use about 11% of our brain during our lifetime on average. Is this true and if it is, why and how can we use the rest?
Jennifer Jung from East Sussex (aged 15-24)

Answer

The truth is that we use all of our brain, more or less all the time. The idea that we use only a small percentage of it seems to come from ideas about realizing one’s potential that were popular about 100 years ago (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/dec/21/medicalresearch). The human brain is a tremendously complex organ in which we can identify many areas specialized for different functions, but which is also capable to operating in a synchronized way over these different areas. Damage to the brain, due to strokes, tumours, disease and accidents reveal how even small amounts of damage can have devastating consequences.

Prof. Sophie K Scott, Wellcome Senior Fellow, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London

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