10% brain myth

10% brain myth General Purpose Statement: To explain
Specific Purpose Statement: To explain to my audience that we do, in fact, use all of our brains and not 10% like commonly believed.
Thesis Statement: The idea that humans only use ten percent of their brains is a myth that pervades popular culture, but a myth that under closer examination of its origins, the actuality of the myth’s truth and a look at the famous case of Phineas Gage will prove false.
Introduction:
I. Attention Getter: “It’s been said that we use a mere 10% of our brain capacity”, others have said “you only use 11% of its potential”, and it has also been said that “the ‘hidden nine-tenths’ of your mental strength lies buried”, unfortunately as interesting as all these quotes sound they are all just slogans used by advertisers to sell digital TV, books, and even sell airplane tickets (Chudler, 2008).
II. Credibility Statement: The myth that we only use ten percent of brains has been around for decades and in order to debunk the myth I researched articles in Scientific American, The Journal of Neuropsychiatry, and even the original article from 1848 written by the doctor who treated Phineas Gage.
III. Relate Topic to Audience: Many of you, like myself, have probably heard and this myth and even believed it to be true, because it allows us to believe that there is unlocked potential within us and fantasize about what we could be if only we knew how to unravel the brain’s secrets.
IV. Thesis Statement: The idea that humans only use ten percent of their brains is a myth that pervades popular culture, but a myth that under closer examination of its origins, the actuality of the myth’s truth and a look at the famous case of Phineas Gage will prove false.
Transition: Since this myth has been around for I began by trying to figure exactly where this myth originated.
Body:
I. The problem that arises with this particular myth is that no one really knows where it started, but there are ideas as to why it continues.
a. The start of this myth has been linked to two people.
1. An American psychologist William James has been credited with the origin of this myth when he wrote, “We are making use of only a small part of possible mental and physical resources” in his book The Energies of Men (Boyd, 2009).
2. The myth has also been credited to Albert Einstein, “who supposedly used it to explain his towering intellect” (Boyd, 2009).
b. Barry Gordon of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has his own idea about why this myth continues to hold credibility stating that the myth “stems from people’s conception about their own brains: they see their own shortcomings as evidence of the existence of untapped gray matter” (Boyd, 2009).
Directional Transition: Although the origins of this myth are pretty hard to ascertain figuring out if this myth has any validity should be a bit easier.
II. As it turns out we do use every bit of our brain.
a. Barry Gordon says, “That we use virtually every part of the brain, and that most of the brain is active almost all the time” (Boyd, 2009).
b. “Evidence would show that over a day you use 100 percent of the brain”, affirms John Henley, a neurologist with the Mayo Clinic (Boyd, 2009).
1. An analogy that Robynne Boyd used in her article “Do people Only Use 10 Percent of Their Brains?”, helped me understand the concept a little clearer explaining that brain is like the muscles in the human body although not every muscle is used at the same time they do all eventually get used in a day (Boyd, 2009).
2. Henley also said, “ This isn’t too say that if the brain were damaged that you wouldn’t be able to perform daily duties” and he continues, “The brain has a way of compensating and making sure that what’s left takes over the activity” (Boyd, 2009).
Directional Transition: With Henley’s thoughts in mind let’s take a look at one of the greatest accidental neurobiology finds of our time.
III. On September 13th 1848, a railroad foreman, named Phineas Gage, was “charging a hole” with gunpowder in order to drive a railroad spike into the ground. During the process the gunpowder ignited prematurely driving the spike through his jaw and out the top of his head (Harlow, 1848).
a. The spike separated Phineas severed his frontal cortex from the rest of his brain (Harlow, 1848).
b. Phineas’ did survive and was actually walking up and about hours after the incident and went back to normal life days after the incident (Harlow, 1848).
1. The problem was that Phineas’ was not the same after the accident people reported him as impulsive, irrational, and highly emotional.
2. The reason for the drastic change in Phineas’ is that the frontal cortex controls rational thought and problem solving, without it we are not much more than primal animals.
Transition: If the ten percent myth had any validity not only should Phineas’ have been fine after the accident, but he should have been completely unchanged since he would have had 90% more of his brain to compensate for the loss.
Conclusion:
I. Restatement of thesis: The idea that humans only use ten percent of their brains is a myth that pervades popular culture, but a myth that as we have seen from closer examination of its origins, the actuality of the myth’s truth and a look at the famous case of Phineas Gage proves false.
II. Clincher: We hold onto this myth because it allows to believe that maybe there is something greater hidden with us, but the brain is mysterious and amazing and using every bit of it allows to have, “feelings, behaviors, experiences … memory, and self-awareness” (Boyd, 2009).

Bibliography
Boyd, R. (2008). Do People Only Use 10 Percent of Their Brains. Scientific American, Retrieved March 4, 2009, from http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=people-only-use-10-percent-of-brain&print=true
Chudler, E. (2008). Myths About the Brain: 10 Percent and Counting. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from Brain Connection Web site: http://www.brainconnection.com/topics/?main=fa/brain-myth
Harlow, J. M. (1848).Passage of an Iron Rod Through the Head. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 11, 281-283.

10% brain myth 9.2 of 10 on the basis of 791 Review.