How much of our brain do we actually use?


How much of our brain do we actually use?

By: Megan Dinkins


There has always been a rumor that we use only 10% of our brains, but is that true?


The movie Lucy challenges the idea of what would happen if we could access 100% of our brain but fails to mention how much of our brain that we actually use. According to, we use 100% of our brains every day, debunking the myth that the average human only uses 10%.


Though this myth has been proven not true, ⅔ of the population still believe it to be factual.


So how did the myth come about? According to, the earliest theory came from the psychologist William James in his 1907 text The Energies of Men. He stated,  “we are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.” James never directly stated that we only use 10% of our brain, but his statement led to further examination by Lowell Thomas, who stated that “the average person develops only 10 percent of his latent mental ability.”


The myth further leads to questions like “what would happen if we accessed 100% of our brain?” It is rumored that it would lead to telekinetic powers and being able to remember and retain information that the average human could not, like remembering up to the 20 thousandth decimal place.


On the daily, we essentially use every part of our brain. This has been shown through fMRI that measures activity in the brain while a person is performing different tasks, mobility, involuntary functions, and others. The only time that we use around 10% of our brain is when we are sleeping.


The average brain weighs about 3 pounds and uses around 20% of our body’s energy according to If the brain takes 20% of our body’s energy to run, then we must be using more than 10% of it. 

The idea that we only use 10% of our brain is false. If the brain is capable of doing four things at once without actual input, we must use more than just that minute amount. The brain is incredible and carries out all of the functions of the body. There is no way we only use 10% of it and still do all of the things that we do.