Once a thought takes hold in the collective ideology, it is truly difficult to get it out of our brain if we share it. And it is precisely this organ that is the subject of many myths, yes. Misconceptions and Myths about the Brain are constantly shared through social networks or during meetings with friends where we want to demonstrate our… knowledge?
Let’s take a look at the myths about the brain without further ado.
Table of Contents
We only use 10% of Our Brain
It’s true that human beings sometimes act like they don’t have one, but this claim is one of the most common, ancient and mysterious brain myths. Firstly because of the origin of this myth: we do not know for sure where it comes from.
Current neuroimaging techniques clearly show us that we use our whole brain, that all of its parts are activated at least with some of the processes that we normally carry out. It is true that we use our brains in different ways and that certain cognitive abilities are more powerful in some people than in others; either way, this myth has no basis.
Myths about the Brain: Left and Right Brain
This is one of the most well-known myths about the brain, illustrated by curious diagrams. Indeed, this myth has permeated society itself and has somehow inundated much of the most gullible science. This is perhaps the myth that has been the subject of the most important literary publication, yet it is fundamentally lacking in meaning: we can see this when we have the chance to see how the brain is activated during tasks that are, in principle, characteristic on the one hand.
While it is true that some functions make more use of certain structures in a hemisphere, the interconnections between the two “parts” of the brain are so numerous and powerful that they cannot function independently and separately. Therefore, using a hemisphere does not define learning styles or personality, as we never use just one hemisphere.
Women’s Brains are different from Men
The brain of both sexes has anatomical differences, as happens with other organs or characteristics, such as size. A recent and much-discussed study offered the following results: In summary, men seem to have more connections in parts of a hemisphere while women have more connections between the two hemispheres.
These results use statistical methods in which the interpretation of the results tends to be biased in order to have a large impact, thus helping to spread myths about the brain. So the differences in this study don’t show that men and women have different brains, but that they make generally different types of connections. Also, the way in which connections are made will depend on the activities the person performs, regardless of gender.
Our brains are plastic, dynamic, and very sensitive to the activities we spend the most time on. For example, London taxi drivers have been found to have their brains altered over months of practice, further connecting and increasing in size areas responsible for our spatial orientation.
However, this plasticity also has limits, which will be more present as we accumulate experience in a specialization. Whether we are a taxi driver in a big city or have another profession. Thus, plasticity can cause certain areas of our brain to become important and others to be pushed aside.
It will depend on our activity, but also on the circumstances, stimuli, general physical and cognitive state of the person, etc. Thus, the brain of each individual ends up having its own architecture associated with the one to which it belongs and with what the latter does; however, this same architecture also places limitations on each of us with which we must live.
We can prepare our brain with the famous “Brain Training”
We must be particularly careful here. In general, any training in memory, computing speed, or improving attention has an immediate positive effect. Now, assuming the effect is effective, the big question remains the cause. Is this improvement really a product of training or just the placebo effect associated with an intervention?
The question becomes even more important if we keep in mind that the effect of this training usually does not spread over time once it is over. Moreover, it is often true that practice makes us more competent; in this case the big question would be: does training improve our skills or is it due to our strategies?
For example, if we play chess for a while, the more likely we will improve our strategy in this game: we will have an experience that will dictate which strategies are better than others. However, if our memory has more elements related to chess, does it allow us to say that this fundamental psychological process has improved?
However, it seems that with cognitive training we achieve results that slow down the natural degeneration of the brain with age, as is the case with degenerative diseases such as dementia. It also appears that training is good for recovering a basal level following a period of deprivation in training this ability. Beyond all this, the truth is that the results are at least questionable.
We have listed some of the most common myths about the brain in here. However, there are many more that we have not addressed or discovered as such as science has yet to find a way to spell them out. Either way, the study of our brains is an exciting topic because it is the most amazing and perfect technology we know of today.