I bet most people have heard that human beings only use 10 percent of their brains. I certainly have. There is just one small problem with that notion: It is wrong. We use 100 percent of our brains.
Christopher Chabris, a Union College psychology professor, and Daniel Simone, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, talk about the “10 percent myth” in a column they wrote that was published in The Wall Street Journal Saturday.
In fact, the article seeks to debunk three popular myths about the brain, with two of them relating to learning. The authors first of all assert that the idea that we only use 10 percent of our brain “is patently false,” in that we use our whole brain. Those areas that light up in a brain scan are active, but they aren’t the only part of a brain working. They are just the most active parts.
Next, the two good professors say that the second brain myth is that “environments rich in stimuli improve the brains of preschool children,” according to The Journal. False again. Only a really unnaturally barren environment would lead to a child’s mental development being stunted, Chabris and Simons said. Deprive a toddler of human contact, and it will have problems.
But just adding a few more bells and whistles to a child’s normal environment is not going to boost his or her mental abilities, the professors claim in The Journal.
And lastly, they assert that the notion that individuals learn more if they get information “in their preferred learning style, whether auditory, visual or kinesthetic,” is false. Several studies have shown that tailoring one’s teaching methods to a student’s preferred method of learning doesn’t actually make them retain more, the professors said in their article.