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Twenty Percent of Memory

You've heard that we only use ten percent of our brains right? Well, that's actually an old science myth that continues to be passed around.

The Human Brian

Photo: alles-schlumpf (Flickr)

The Human Brian showed through what the human brain has created through centuries of technology.

You’ve heard that we only use ten percent of our brains right?

Well, that’s actually an old science myth that continues to be passed around, despite it’s inaccuracy.

Neuroscience shows us that every part of the brain is used at least some of the time, however, studies show we only use twenty percent of the neurons in our amygdala.

The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped part of the brain that is responsible for memory formation. People had generally assumed that since we already know the amygdala is important for memory, your amygdala is completely active when forming a new memory. However, a study done partly at UCLA, suggests that only about twenty percent of the amygdala is activated when memories are being formed.

It’s not that eighty percent is doing something else, or that not every memory requires every cell in the amygdala to fire. It may be that individual memory formation always take up about twenty percent of the neurons, though not the same twenty percent. The neurons may undergo a kind of cellular competition to see which ones will be used, with only the top twenty percent winning out on any given time.

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