Human Brain Facts: Amazing Facts We Had Wrong All Along!
The Most Common Human Brain Facts Proven Wrong
Human brain facts can be fascinating. Sometimes we learn things that open up a whole new perspective and can even change the way that we think.
The rapid development of technology and research over the last 20 years has allowed the neuroscience community to discover many new and interesting facts about the human brain. However, many of the more recent discoveries have been about the human brain “facts” that we have had wrong all along.
I believe that in order to address specific issues, whether it is ADHD, ADD, Dementia, and/or just targeting an overall healthier brain, it is very important to understand how the human brain works.
Just as there are many interesting human brain facts, there are also some myths that are often presented as facts. In fact, (no pun intended), some of the most interesting human brain facts are the myths we have proven wrong.
6 Human Brain Facts That Are Common Misconceptions
Myth #1 – Bigger is Better
While some may argue this to be true of other organs (which many would also argue is just speculation), the theory that a bigger brain means a smarter brain is simply false.
However, it is an interesting myth.
Here's the deal:
You only need to take a look at a Sperm Whale's brain, which is 6 times larger than that of a human to see this theory start to fall apart.
Don't get me wrong, they are certainly intelligent mammals, but their cognitive skills are no comparison to the capabilities of the human brain.
This dispels the rumor that bigger is better and shows another one of those human brain “facts” that people are commonly misinformed about.
Some people also believe that a larger brain amongst humans must mean a higher intelligence but this is another human brain fact that is commonly misconstrued.
On average, most male brains are larger than female brains.
Relax ladies, because I can tell you from personal experience that I have met more than a few females that may technically have smaller brains, but that carry a superior intelligence to their male counterparts.
However, this still remains one of the human brain facts that is more commonly debated.
This is even a common theory when comparing the human brain of someone diagnosed with ADHD someone who does not with studies showing those diagnosed with ADHD as having a 3-4% smaller brain than their counterparts.
However, this does not mean that those with ADHD, like myself, have an inferior intelligence.
Myth #2 – Drugs And Alcohol Kill Brain Cells
Although I am certainly not advocating either, drugs and alcohol do not actually kill brain cells.
Drugs and alcohol can certainly cause brain damage. They can negatively affect your ability to convey messages between neurons, but the damage is mostly reversible.
Drugs do not actually create a hole in your brain though some can certainly change your brain's functionality and structure.
However, physical trauma is the only thing that can definitely put a hole in your brain.
Therefore, this one is technically a myth in how it is stated, but I would HIGHLY recommend limiting or avoiding both drugs and alcohol, as they can affect your overall brain health and functionality, regardless of whether or not they are actually “killing” your physical brain cells.
This includes the growing epidemic of people who abuse prescription medications. The abuse of ADHD medications like Adderall continues to increase at an alarming rate in high schools and college campuses across the country.
Here are some other myths sometimes presented as human brain facts that specifically relate to potential things that can kill brain cells.
Myth #3 – We Have 100 Billion Brain Cells
Not until 2009 did scientists realize that we do not actually have 100 billion brain cells, as originally speculated and believed as one of the more common human brain facts.
But here's the kicker:
It is actually less. The human brain has closer to 86 billion brain cells.
Sure, it may seem like a small difference, but those 14 billion neurons are equal to the size of an entire baboon's brain.
Pretty crazy, right!? Even kind of hard to wrap your “brain” around, right? OK, I apologize for that one…
To put it more into perspective, think about the fact that 1 million seconds is equal to 12 days, whereas 1 billion seconds is equal to 31 years. So, a difference in 14 billion neurons may not really be so small after all.
Myth #4 – Humans Can Only Use About 10% Of Our Brains
This is simply not true.
Thanks to modern brain scanning technology, we now know that in reality, we use the entire thing all the time.
However, not necessarily all at once…
For example, when you are walking, the parts of the brain that are associated with movement may be more active than other areas of the brain.
However, there is really no part of the brain that simply doesn't do anything at all. It uses 3% of the body's weight and uses 20% of the body's energy, making it quite a busy brain.
This is one of the “human brain facts” that we have been hearing since we were children. Sorry to surprise you that this brain “fact” has now been proven to be nothing more than a myth.
Myth #5 – We Use One Side Of Our Brain More Than The Other
Sorry to say this is another one of those human brain facts turned into nothing more than a busted myth.
The theory about how we use different sides of our brains is one of the most common human brain facts that has been misunderstood for years. I remember growing up and talking about who is more left-brained or right brained.
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
If you are more logical and analytical, you must obviously think more with the left side of your brain, right?
And if you are more creative or intuitive, you must fall more into the right brain category?
Life Science scrutinizes this human brain fact turned myth in further detail.
While it may be true that different sides of the human brain may be used for specific functions and purposes, we do not use actually use one side of our brains more than the other.
For example, we may use our left hemisphere to read languages, while the right hemisphere is used to interpret emotions.
Studies of thousands of individuals show no evidence of a left or right brain dominance. In other words, at the end of the day, we use both sides of our brains equally.
Myth #6 – We Only have 5 Senses
Truth be told, we actually have much more than 5 senses.
For example, nociception is one of the additional senses that we possess. This is the sense of pain and proprioception (sense of how our bodies are positioned), along with the sense of balance, temperature, and the passing of time.
Other common senses that we do not commonly speak about or acknowledge as much include some of the following:
- Tension sensors – Typically found in places like muscles and allow the human brain the ability to monitor tension of the muscles.
- Thirst – The sense that allows your body to monitor hydration levels, which then tell your brain when it should seek water or other liquid to drink.
- Thermoception – The body and brain's ability to monitor the body's temperature levels and tell is when it is cold or hot.
- Itch – Believe it or not, this is a sense that is directly derived from other touch-related senses.
These are just a few of the many additional senses that we have that are outside the most common senses of taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound.
More Scientific Research and Technology Leads to More Interesting Human Brain Facts
More research about the brain continues every day as we proceed to decipher the myths from the real human brain facts.
As technology and information continue to improve, scientists are discovering more accurate information about the brain, as well as debunking theories like the ones I have just introduced.
This is providing us with better knowledge and understanding about the human brain, which is allowing neuroscientists to develop more effective treatments for a variety of both physical and mental brain-related disorders.
This has also allowed us to more specifically comprehend disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and pave the way for detecting it more quickly and efficiently while treating it in a more customized manner than we had been accustomed to over the past 25+ years.
Please comment below and share any interesting human brain facts that you may know or any questions, comments or other insights that you may have about the information we have discussed. Understanding the human brain has allowed us to better understand ADHD. We recently got a more inside look into the adult ADHD brain to understand ADHD in adults better. Please check it out!