Speed Reads

Lucy, you got some 'splainin to do

Hey, Hollywood: Stop saying we only use 10 percent of our brains

"It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of their brains' capacity," says Hollywood's favorite voice of authority Morgan Freeman — during a college lecture — in the trailer for the upcoming action thriller Lucy. "Imagine if we could access 100 percent. Interesting things begin to happen."

Lucy is playing on a widely-reported piece of folk wisdom: that human beings use only 10 percent of their brains, and that unlocking the other 90 percent will give us an array of staggering mental powers. It's a "fact" that has been widely quoted for more than a century — and it is utterly, empirically false.

65 percent of Americans believe the "10 percent of the brain" myth. Nearly 50 percent of science teachers believe it. So now, once and for all: despite Hollywood's persistent obsession with the concept, there is absolutely no truth to the idea that we only use 10 percent of our brains. Don't believe me? Watch the video below, which explains how normally functioning humans use 100 percent of our brains — and why that makes use so special. --Scott Meslow