Question: What percent of our brain do we use?

Keywords: ,

  1. Hi Directioner,
    We use essentially all of our brain, most of the time. It is a common myth that we only use 10% of it.
    In fact, if you think about energy use.

    The brain weighs less than 5% of our body mass, but it uses about 20% of the energy we consume.

    So it is always working always doing things, and most of the time we are not even aware of it going on.

    If you want to read more about it here is a good article from Scientific America


  2. I have weekly meetings with all my PhD students and sometimes I wonder if they are using any of it! No, seriously. There is the old saying that we only use 10% of our brains, but really most of the brain is occupied most of the time. The differences in the way different people think about problems, often perceived as “intelligence” of one sort or another, may be traced to how the brains of individuals are wired. This may be influenced by genetics, physiology, environment, and/or what experiences we have as small children. The brain is a dynamic organ and has a great capacity to re-wire itself, especially when we are very young. Think about all the learning that children do before age 5. Unfortunately the ability of the brain to make new internal connections diminishes with age. But I’m clinging to the hope that this is made up for by accumulated wisdom.


  3. Hi directioner,
    It is commonly thought that we only use 10% of our brain but that isn’t really correct.
    Different parts of our brains do different things, so we are always using some part of our brain all the time, but in different combinations depending on what we are doing. Some parts of our brains are always being used, such the parts that control our heart or breathing. As we learn things, our brain cells (neourons) make more connections with each other (these connections are called synapses). As we continue to learn more or do particular activities that use particular connections/parts of the brain, these connections between neurons become stronger. So then we are able to remember more or become better at particular things (that’s why they say practice makes perfect!). So the differences in people’s intelligence and abilities is due to the different way their brains are wired (the different connections that they have – this is also affected by factors such as genetics), not really the amount or percentage of their brain that they use. I hope you found my answer useful! 🙂 Nice answers by Dustin and Steven.


  4. We use all of it and the myth that we only use 10% is incredibly frustrating.



  1. I really hate that myth that we only use 10% of the brain. If we didn’t use the rest of it then why is it there?


    • Good point, James. Does anyone know where the 10% myth came from?


      • I think science communicators are to blame. A journalist likely reporting about something got it wrong or misreported it and it just stuck.
        It was attributed to Einstein but I dont think that is accurate.