NPR Science: Sorry, Lucy: The Myth Of The Misused Brain Is 100 Percent False

  • ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:
  • If you went to the movie theater this weekend, you might've caught the latest Scarlett Johansson action movie called "Lucy." It's about a woman who develops superpowers by harnessing the full potential of her brain.
  • (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LUCY")
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON: I'm able to do things I've never done before. I feel everything and I can control the elements around me.
  • UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That's amazing.
  • WESTERVELT: You've probably heard this idea before. Most people only use 10% of their brains. The other 90% of the basically dormant. Well, in the movie "Lucy," Morgan Freeman gives us this what-if scenario?
  • (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LUCY")
  • MORGAN FREEMAN: What if there was a way of accessing 100% of our brain? What might we be capable of?
  • DAVID EAGLEMAN: We would be capable of exactly what we're doing now, which is to say, we do use a hundred percent of our brain.
  • WESTERVELT: That is David Eagleman.
  • EAGLEMAN: I'm a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine.
  • WESTERVELT: And he says, basically, all of us are like Lucy. We use all of our brains, all of time.
  • EAGLEMAN: Even when you're just sitting around doing nothing your brain is screaming with activity all the time, around the clock; even when you're asleep it's screaming with activity.
  • WESTERVELT: In other words, this is a total myth. Very wrong, but still very popular. Take this clip from an Ellen DeGeneres stand-up special.
  • (SOUNDBITE OF STAND-UP SPECIAL)
  • ELLEN DEGENERES: It's true, they say we use ten percent of our brain. Ten percent of our brain. And I think, imagine what we could accomplish if we used the other 60 percent? Do you know what I'm saying?
  • AUDIENCE: (LAUGHTER).
  • (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TOMMY BOY")
  • DAVID SPADE: Let's say the average person uses ten percent of their brain.
  • WESTERVELT: It's even in the movie "Tommy Boy."
  • (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TOMMY BOY")
  • SPADE: How much do you use? One and a half percent. The rest is clogged with malted hops and bong residue.
  • WESTERVELT: Ariana Anderson is a researcher at UCLA. She looks at brain scans all day long. And she says, if someone were actually using just ten percent of their brain capacity...
  • ARIANA ANDERSON: Well, they would probably be declared brain-dead.
  • WESTERVELT: Sorry, "Tommy Boy." No one knows exactly where this myth came from but it's been around since at least the early 1900's. So why is this wrong idea still so popular?
  • ANDERSON: Probably gives us some sort of hope that if we are doing things we shouldn't do, such as watching too much TV, alcohol abuse, well, it might be damaging our brain but it's probably damaging the 90 percent that we don't use. And that's not true. Whenever you're doing something that damages your brain, it's damaging something that's being used, and it's going to leave some sort of deficit behind.
  • EAGLEMAN: For a long time I've wondered, why is this such a sticky myth?
  • WESTERVELT: Again, David Eagleman.
  • EAGLEMAN: And I think it's because it gives us a sense that there's something there to be unlocked, that we could be so much better than we could. And really, this has the same appeal as any fairytale or superhero story. I mean, it's the neural equivalent to Peter Parker becoming Spiderman.
  • WESTERVELT: In other words, it's an idea that belongs in Hollywood.
"I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else."

— Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (via mylittlebookofwords)

(Source: thebooker, via victoriousvocabulary)

fallenzephyrart:

If 18 or 20 palettes wasn’t enough, I present to you: my 100 Palette Challenge! This is a collection of some of my favourite palettes from color-palettes and Adobe Kuler and I thought it would be really fun to have a huge variety of palettes to chose from
If you would like to participate in this challenge, I ask that you DO NOT repost this anywhere else, including deviantART; please REBLOG this instead! I have the challenge uploaded to deviantART as well, so please check it out there if you want to do it on deviantART!

This palette challenge trend is the greatest thing since sliced bread!

fallenzephyrart:

If 18 or 20 palettes wasn’t enough, I present to you: my 100 Palette Challenge! This is a collection of some of my favourite palettes from color-palettes and Adobe Kuler and I thought it would be really fun to have a huge variety of palettes to chose from

If you would like to participate in this challenge, I ask that you DO NOT repost this anywhere else, including deviantART; please REBLOG this instead! I have the challenge uploaded to deviantART as well, so please check it out there if you want to do it on deviantART!

This palette challenge trend is the greatest thing since sliced bread!

(via offtide)

faitherinhicks:

HAPPY CANADA DAY! For Canada Day, read this short Superhero Girl comic I made last year for the True Patriot anthology! It was based on a true experience I had when someone asked me “what makes Superhero Girl a Canadian superhero?” and I was like uhhhhh?

The League of Villainous Canadian Stereotypes was my boyfriend Tim’s idea. He is a great idea man! 

Enjoy my Canadian comic and have a great Canada Day! I am celebrating by working a lot. ;)

Happy Canada Day, my friends.

- S.


Minimalist Marvel Movie Posters: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Minimalist Marvel Movie Posters: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

(Source: pvnkbvcky)

designrevolution:

Courtenay McKay created a series of posters for the Gender Based Violence Prevention Project (GBVPP) at the University of Alberta to spread awareness about rape culture.

The Gender Based Violence Prevention Project is a new project of the Students’ Union that promotes a campus free of gender based violence. Gender Based Violence exists in both visible and invisible ways on our campus and affects the lives of many University students, staff, faculty, and community members. Through education, awareness, and institutional change, we are striving to create a campus free of gender based violence where everyone can feel safe and supported.”

Back in the saddle.

Back in the saddle.

jtotheizzoe:

goadthings:

Ernst Haeckel

Not only was Ernst a Haeckel of an artist, he was a brilliant biologist and naturalist as well. 

Side note: I have business cards, for some unknown reason, and there’s a Haeckel illustration on the back of each one.

Always reblog Ernst Haeckel.

compoundchem:

Version 1 of ‘A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science’. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions earlier in the week, attempted to include as many of them as possible!
Download link here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-ap

compoundchem:

Version 1 of ‘A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science’. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions earlier in the week, attempted to include as many of them as possible!

Download link here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-ap

(via we-are-star-stuff)

f-l-e-u-r-d-e-l-y-s:

Kate MccGwires Feather sculptures

Kate MccGwire’s feather sculptures are awe inspiring in their detail; they are the type of thing that is marveled. Gathering, peeling, and layering are just a few ways she constructs her work. The materials, vibrant colors, and tactile quality gives them an uncanny feeling.

(via lunar-alpha)

mucholderthen:

Posted by biomedicalephemera:

QUARANTINE!

Though often used as a synonym of “isolation" (where sick people are kept from well people), quarantine is technically defined as “to separate those suspected of exposure to an illness to see if they become ill” - hence the quarantine laws for livestock and pets when moving between countries, especially countries where rabies or hoof-and-mouth disease isn’t endemic.

These signs were posted on houses and farms that had a patient (and, as such, exposed family or herd members) infected with, from top to bottom, hoof-and-mouth disease, scarlet fever, diphtheria, smallpox, and poliomyelitis.

[Images from Quaraintine]

clearscience:

The Natural Logarithm
Many things in nature come from logarithmic relationships. There is another kind of logarithm called the natural logarithm, and its symbol is ln (which stands for “logarithm natural”) instead of log.
The simple equation above results in a trace of a nautilus shell. In the equation r is “distance from center of the spiral” and θ is “revolutions around the center.” So the natural log of the radial distance determines the number of polar revolutions.
In each successive plot above, a new revolution has been added. Yet they maintain their appearance as the scale increases. 

clearscience:

The Natural Logarithm

Many things in nature come from logarithmic relationships. There is another kind of logarithm called the natural logarithm, and its symbol is ln (which stands for “logarithm natural”) instead of log.

The simple equation above results in a trace of a nautilus shell. In the equation r is “distance from center of the spiral” and θ is “revolutions around the center.” So the natural log of the radial distance determines the number of polar revolutions.

In each successive plot above, a new revolution has been added. Yet they maintain their appearance as the scale increases. 

jtotheizzoe:

scientific-women:

We want to create an index of the lady scientists on Tumblr, much like shychemist did for all scientists.  (Have we thanked you lately?!)  However, it’s a bit more challenging as not all of you announce your gender on your blogs.  So, if you identify as a woman/female,* let us know if you want to be included!

Signal boost! 

Numbers and letters are different symbol systems and we have totally been ignoring that in synaesthesia research, you guys.

lolmythesis:

Psychology, University of Sussex

Effects of synaesthetic colour and space on cognition.

I would absolutely read this.