There’s a popular myth that “you only use 10% of your brain”. Neuroscientists are quick to point out the fallacy in the “use 10%” part of that sentence. I remember a professor of mine once saying, “I don’t know about you but I use all of my brain,” joking that while he couldn’t vouch for anyone else in particular, for neurotypical humans, the entire brain is used, not just 10%.

However, if you focus instead on the word “you”, I would argue that 10% is actually a gross exaggeration. The human brain receives, by some accounts, upwards of 11 million bits per second from it’s sense organs (about 10 million from the eyes alone). Of that, you are only actually conscious of, maybe 40 (or by some counts, closer to 4) bits per second.

So while it’s true that your whole brain is, in fact, working hard to construct the reality you experience and help you move your body through the world, it could also be said that you, as in the conscious entity that regards itself as a self, accounts less than 0.0001% of your brain.

In fact, much less when you consider the fact that the vast majority of neural activity is internally generated. The lateral geniculate nucleus, the part of the brain that routes visual information, receives 20x more information from the cortex than it does from the eyes. All that is to say, there is far more to your own brain that you can even begin to imagine.

Student of Cognitive Neuroscience and Multi-Religious Studies, former Neuroscience PhD candidate @CMBNRutgers and Ministerial Candidate @StarrKingGTU