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Re(2): The Brain
The idea of 10-15% being used in humans is from electrical activity
research. Early EEG data showed only about 10% of the brain was active at
once. It could do this by knowing the electrical activity of one neuron.
However, EEG data is not positional and there is no way of know that it is
always the same 10%. (They do see situations where 70%+ of the brain is
active -- some grand mal seisure. Not what you could call normal healthy
brain activity.) So 10% is used, but not always the same 10%.
In a way, we should be able to think this is not too surprising. Consider
only the motor neurons. Half activate flexor muscles and the other half
the extensors. You would not want both highly activates at once. Similar
thought can be extended to memory recall. To have all your memories to
occur at once would be, at least, confusing.
But lets get back to dinosaurs. A large brain may not be needed. For
example, see the research of Dr. Pepperberg on an African Grey parrot named
Alex. He has learned to associate words with many objects and actions.
Details can be found here:
BTW .. I am a high school biology teacher and stand to be corrected on any
>From: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
>Subject: Re: The Brain
>At 09:35 PM 10/1/97 -0700, you wrote:
>>I grew up with the notion that dinosaurs were supposed to be stupid, for
>>example Diplodocus had a small head , and a small brain. Since humans only
>>use what 10 or 15 % of our brains
>UGH! Folklore alert, folklore alert!!
>Despite the fact that everyone "knows" this, it is not true. What the ~15%
>value refers to is the fact that only some fraction of the brain is used for
>THINKING (or at least higher thought processes). The rest is still used,
>just not for higher cognition. (Of course the situation is more complex
>than this, but that is where the number comes from).
>Somewhere along the line, the idea that humans use only ~15% of the brain
>for higher thought processes turned into the idea that humans only use ~15%
>of their brain, period. New Age-ism and bad sci fi not withstanding, this
>latter concept doesn't hold up.