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How to use 100 percent of your Brain

Updated on February 10, 2011

How to use 100% of your brain

It's easier than you think. You are already doing it.

Contrary to the popular myth that human beings use only a small percentage of their brain, let's say 10%, the truth is all of the human brain is used at one time or another.

If you came here to learn how to harness the power of the 90 percent of your brain that you are probably not using, you must be really disappointed right now. Don't fret. I have pretty interesting things to say about the human brain. Know your brain!

For one thing, a recent paper by Peter Lennie of the New York University Center for Neural Science suggests that the brain should have a maximum of 3% of its neurons firing at any one time, otherwise the energy required to reset each neuron after it goes inactive becomes simply too much for your brain to handle.

The make-up of the Central Nervous System (CNS)

The central nervous system of a human being is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. It consists of two types of cells: glia and neurons.


Neurons are used for processing information. They are receiving input and sending output between one another all the time. Input checks in through the branch-like dendrites of the neuron, output checks out through the cable-like axons.

Dendrites and Axons

Surprisingly, each neuron has up to 10,000 dendrites, and only a single axon. This axon is usually thousands of times longer than the neuron's microscopic cell body. The biggest axon in a giraffe is about 15 ft long.


The junctions between axons and dendrites are called synapses. These are the places where electrical impulses are transformed into chemical signals. Synapses are like tiny switches, connecting neurons to one another and turning the brain into a huge network.

Glia or Glial cells

Glial cells constitute the structural framework of the brain; they manage the neurons and keep the house clean by removing debris after neurons die. Glial cells are fifty times more numerous than neurons in the brain.

Brain Network

A single human brain is made up of about 3 million miles of axons, 1 quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) synapses, and as much as 200 billion neurons. The neurons spread out side by side would cover the size of 4 football fields.

Human Brain. Click to enlarge.
Human Brain. Click to enlarge.

Parts of the Human Brain

  1. Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC): used to weigh options and make decisions. It’s responsible for worrying, and is bigger in women than in men.
  2. Prefrontal Cortex (PFC): rules feelings and emotions and keeps them at bay. PFC puts the brakes on the instinctual amygdala and is bigger in women than in men. It also matures faster in teen girls than in boys by one to two years.
  3. Insula: used to process gut feelings. Insula is larger and more active in females.
  4. Hypothalamus: conducts the production and distribution of hormones. It starts pumping earlier at puberty in women.
  5. Amygdala: our instinctual center - the beast within. Larger in men and is tamed only by the Prefrontal Cortex.
  6. Pituitary Gland: responsible for the production of fertility hormones, milk and nurturing behavior. The center for turning on the mommy brain.
  7. Hippocampus: the elephant that never forgets a romantic encounter, a tender moment or a fight, for that matter. Bigger and more active in females.

Brain Anatomy and Functions Video

Brain FAQ

What color is the brain?

As long as we are alive, our brain is pink with its color coming from the blood vessels. When the brain is dead, it appears gray.

Around 40% of the living brain is made of gray matter and 60% of white matter, but these are not descriptions of the colors of different areas.

What are gray and white matter used for?

Gray matter uses almost 95% of the oxygen consumption of the brain, as this is the area where the actual information processing is done.

White matter is made of a fatty protein called myelin. It sheathes and insulates the highways of communication inside the brain. It links different parts of the gray matter together.

Venus vs. Mars in terms of brain differences?

Recent studies at the Universities of California and New Mexico showed that men had 6 1/2 times more gray matter than women, while women had 10 times more white matter than men.

The women were found to have white matter in a high concentration in the frontal lobes (center for emotion control and judgment), wherein the men had none.

Men’s and women’s brains are very differently wired, but the output of intelligence is the same.

Does alcohol kill brain cells?

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol consumption does not kill brain cells. It makes new cells grow more slowly.

The temperance campaigners of the early 19th century wanted
all alcoholic beverages banned, so they made up a scientific fact: alcohol kills brain cells.

How does alcohol affect brain cells?

A recent research found that samples from alcoholics and non-alcoholics showed little to no difference in the overall number or the density of neurons between the two groups. A study in Sweden even disclosed that more brain cells are grown in mice that are given moderate amounts of alcohol.

The serious damage caused by alcohol abuse, including damage to the brain, does not stem from the death of brain cells, it is more probable that alcohol abuse doesn't agree with the information processing of the brain.

What is the cause of hangover?

Hangover is caused by the shrinking of the brain due to dehydration. Dehydration causes the brain to tug on its covering membrane, and the membrane becomes sore. The brain has no pain receptors, so it feels nothing, even if you stick a knife in it.

Does alien alcohol exist?

According to a recent astronomical discovery, there is a decent amount of alcohol in our region of the Milky Way. This giant cloud of methanol has a diameter of about 300 billion miles.

Methanol is not ethyl alcohol, therefore it is not consumable by humans. This fact and the cloud's existence suggest that it's for the consumption of some other life-form. This, in turn, suggests that we are not alone.

There are more ways to exchange information in the human brain than the number of atoms in the whole universe. This is the potential that we carry, so whatever percentage of our brains we actually use and however we do it, there is clearly room for improvement.


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    • profile image

      JD 3 years ago

      the given subject does not match with the topic " how to use 100% of brain". Do not put articles out of topic!

    • Dave Collado profile image

      Dave Collado 3 years ago from San Jose California

      This is great news for alcoholic virtuosos everywhere!

    • profile image

      chems 3 years ago

      Nice article thanks,

      I have just one question : what was your resource concerning tge white and gray matter pourcentage in the brain (have any any scientific article that I can use)

      Thank you in advance

    • profile image

      cocksucker 3 years ago

      hahaha when your nerdy asses drop your ego off at daycare then maybe jus MAYBE you'll have a percentage of the intelligence you feel you posses

    • profile image

      Sam 4 years ago

      Very useful

    • jklahlou profile image

      jklahlou 4 years ago

      Great article: very interesting and informative!

      Really liked how you started it.

      Just a few things I thought to mention: there are intelligence differences between men and women, such as in visuo-spatial ability and language. I also thought that the Alien Alcohol paragraph digressed a little, lol.

    • profile image

      Rakesh Behera 6 years ago

      I didn't get what i want actually. I can say what is given in the above topic is only about the construction and function of of human brain and effect of alcohol on it. Nothing else more is there.

      Where is the main topic that is how to use 100 percent of our brain ? I am not satishfy with the answer.

    • profile image

      westwoodlaser 6 years ago

      Great Hub, Video is also great. Thanks for sharing this hub.

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      Thanks Seeker7! This hub seems to be well-loved by those who love hubs like this.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Great hub and great fun! The more we learn about our neurons - or lack of them as the case may be - the more iteresting it becomes. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Judy 6 years ago

      Wow, so women do mature earlier than men...

    • profile image

      maxx 6 years ago

      use the limitless tablets!

    • profile image

      balakrishna 6 years ago

      how much storage to brain

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      Haha, I know it's a cliché but being too smart... is a curse. Especially when everyone is jealous of you because you provenly have a little more brains than they do. Thanks for reading, Ardie. :)

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      I can say I truly am disappointed that I didn't learn how to use 100% of my brain tonight. Oh, well. Last thing I need is to get any smarter - my brain is already too big as it is :D. This was all very interesting.

    • profile image

      naturalsolutions 6 years ago

      If only we can boost our mind to the one hundred percent. I think human can probably control everything. I the genius Einstein use only 9% of his brain what mot is 100%.

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      I hear you, Brian. The article seems to have turned out to be a bit one-sided. So here you go.

      The Medical Preoptic Area in the hypothalamus is 2.5 times bigger in men. It's responsible for sexual pursuit and needed to start an erection.

      The Temporal Parietal Junction, which is the area responsible for the inclination to solve other people's problems is more trigger-happy in men making them more empathetic than women.

      The Dorsal Premammillary Nucleus (of the Hypothalamus) is more developed in the male. It is responsible for the well-known there-can-be-only-one attitude and territorial defense.

      The Ventral Tegmental Area, responsible for initiative and motivation is larger in men.

      The Periaqueductal Gray, which controls involuntary pain and pleasure is more active in men.

    • profile image

      Brian 6 years ago

      This article was biased in the sense that women are glofied and it has no positive or encouraging information about men. I know were different but there are areas in the brain that men have more then women that women don't.

    • Dangadang profile image

      Dangadang 6 years ago

      Nice article.

    • profile image

      wendy87 6 years ago

      great hub actually funny the popular scientist albert einstein used his 9% brain......

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Information for my prefrontal cortex that is exciting for my amygdala,without the fight or flight reflex!;)