The movie LUCY comes out on the US this weekend. In the film, Scarlett Johansonn gains the ability to use 100% of her brian, instead of the usual 10%, thereby basically becoming superhuman.
The idea that humans only use 10% (or some other small percentage) of our brains is common in fiction. For other examples, check out this movie, this movie, this book, or this book.
And, of course, it’s totally false.
This 2008 article from Scientific American breaks it down nicely.
From the article:
“Although it’s true that at any given moment all of the brain’s regions are not concurrently firing, brain researchers using imaging technology have shown that, like the body’s muscles, most are continually active over a 24-hour period. “Evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain,” says John Henley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.”
“It turns out though, that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time,” Gordon adds. “Let’s put it this way: the brain represents three percent of the body’s weight and uses 20 percent of the body’s energy.”
Though an alluring idea, the “10 percent myth” is so wrong it is almost laughable, says neurologist Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Let’s all agree to stop using this plot device.
That said, LUCY looks awesome and I am totally seeing it.