15 Weird Things We Used to Believe About the Brain

As scientific research has progressed, a surprising amount of mistaken information about the brain has stayed in our collective consciousness. For example, have you ever heard someone suggest that they don’t excel at math because they are ‘left-brained’? It turns out that the left brain/right brain division is completely false. So are many other things we think we know about the magnificent organ that powers our central nervous system.

Check out the list of now-debunked theories about the brain here, and make sure your knowledge is up to date:

We only use 10% of our brain

This theory was spouted by motivational speakers everywhere for years, with the idea that if we were told that we only used 10% of our brains every day, it would give us a new goal to strive towards.

However, it turns out we actually use up every little bit of our brain with our daily tasks. There are no superfluous areas up there! Injury to even a millimeter of our brain can cause irreparable damage. Perhaps the person who made up this fact was referring to the endless untapped potential of our minds, rather than speculating about physical space in the brain.

IAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock.com
IAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock.com

Getting hit on the head will cause amnesia

This is a trope of terrible movies all around the world: the damsel in distress is knocked on the head, causing her to forget her pining fiancé. Another strategic knock sets her to rights almost immediately. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There are two different types of amnesia: anterograde, which is the inability to form new memories, and retrograde, which inhibits our recall of memories. Neither of them is caused by a mere knock on the head. It takes a massive brain injury, or a disease like Alzheimer’s to cause amnesia.

HBRH / Shutterstock.com
HBRH / Shutterstock.com

We know what will make us happy

It is almost impossible for scientists to predict how happy something will make you. The things that we expect to make us happy, like gifts, sex, food, or friendships, routinely defy quantification. One day, a slice of pizza will make us much happier than good sex, but the next day it will hardly register.

The takeaway from this is that we truly don’t know what will make us happy, so keeping to a strict routine isn’t exactly beneficial. Try some new things! You might be surprised by what you find.

Navistock / Shutterstock.com
Navistock / Shutterstock.com
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