7 Myths About Your Brain You Probably Believe

Men are from Earth, women are also from Earth. And you can’t blame your lack of brain cells on drinking.

1. You are either right or left brained.

Think your mathematical ability makes you “left brained”? Or your creative ability means you use the right side of your brain more? Think again. It’s true that certain regions of each hemisphere are specialised for particular functions. But an individual person does not use one half more than the other.

2. You only use 10% of your brain.

If you’re sitting around not doing much, you might only be using a small portion of your brain. But in a 24-hour period you actually use most of it. So you probably don’t have loads of unused brain power to tap into. Sorry.

3. Drinking always kills brain cells.

Alcohol can shrink your brain cells and alter brain function, but moderate drinking does not kill your neurons. Binge drinking or years of chronic abuse will do, though.

4. Men’s and women’s brains are “hardwired” to be different.

Flickr: hey__paul / Creative Commons

While there are differences in the brains of women and men in general, there’s nothing to show that most of these differences are “hardwired”. And we don’t have a clear understanding of how these differences are linked to behaviour.

Research that has been done, such as a 1992 study that showed women had more connecting fibres between the two halves of their brains, tends to be used to confirm existing stereotypes. The study was widely reported as showing women are better at multitasking, but the finding was never replicated.

5. Brains are “hardwired” to make you behave a certain way.

We now know the brain is not necessarily “hardwired” for anything. In recent years its been shown that the brain has a massive capacity to change, known as “plasticity”. So any differences in brains, including between men and women, could be the result of upbringing and socialisation rather than being down to predestined biology.

6. You can’t grow new brain cells as an adult.

Overall, we do lose brain cells as we age. But scientists have recently discovered that adults can grow new brain cells.

7. Bigger means better.

Brain size alone is not a measure of intelligence. It’s more about what’s inside your brain, including how many neurons you have and how complex the activity is at the connections between your brain cells.

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