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It's More Than 10%

By Sara Thompson

Image credit is Wikimedia Commons User Mysid

Special to the Enterprise


Our brains are one of the most specialized organs and systems of our body. Weighing in between 2-3 lbs., it is the most energy consuming organ of our bodies. It is responsible for everything else our bodies do, our responses, what we think, and who we all are as individuals. It is powerful, yet much of it is still a mystery to us.


Almost all other major organs of our bodies reside in our abdomen, but the brain sits in the penthouse of our bodies, the head. Contained and protected by our skulls, it is also surrounded by a clear fluid, called cerebrospinal fluid, which helps cushion the brain, maintain its neutral buoyancy, and helping to maintain appropriate pressure, pH, and temperature in the area surrounding the brain.


Our brains are a singular organ, but there is a groove running from front to back that separates the brain into left and right hemispheres. Each hemisphere is made up of four distinct lobes that control different aspects of the human body and mind. The lobe controls do have some overlap, but still serve their primary functions. The frontal lobe is the largest of the lobes. It is responsible for most of our motor control as well as short-term memory, which helps with planning and motivation. The temporal lobe processes much of our sensory input and stores it into long-term memory. This lobe is responsible for our language comprehension. The parietal lobe focuses on our processing touch sense. It is what detects pain, temperature changes, and different textures. The occipital lobe is dedicated to visual processing.


There is a common myth that we only use 10% of our brains, but studies have shown that this is untrue. Our brains are continually active and damage to any one part would result in the loss of physical or cognitive abilities. If only 10% was used, any damage to the other 90% would be irrelevant. Brain scans of people performing complicated mental exercises have shown over 30% of the brain was used for the duration of the test. No one truly knows where this myth originated, but many believe it is a misquote from the early 1890s, when psychologists were studying child prodigies and commented that most people rarely reach their true mental potential. Other possible beginning could be self-help books from the 1920s, science fiction stories of other worldly beings exceeding human potential, or just a simple insult to a rival that took hold in popularity. Either way, numerous studies have shown that we use 100% of our brains everyday and without it would not be alive.


Explorit's coming events:

• Explorit is open Fridays from 1-4pm and Saturday and Sundays from 10am-2pm. The current exhibit is “Our WILD World”. Admission is $5 per person, free for Explorit Members and those aged 2 and under.

• Spring Camp Registration is open. Spring camp runs March 25-29, from 9am-12pm each day. Camp is designed for those in grades K-2nd. The registration fee is $185 for Members, $210 for Non-Members.

• Summer Science Camps are coming back for 2024! Member registration begins March 8, (must be a member by March 1st to qualify for early registration). General registration begins on March 15. More information can be found on our website at https://www.explorit.org/camps.

• Now is a great time to donate and help Explorit continue to educate and inspire the scientists of tomorrow: https://www.explorit.org/donate

• A Membership to Explorit grants the recipient free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, summer camps and workshops, and gives you ASTC benefits to visit other museums throughout the world. To purchase or for more information visit https://www.explorit.org/membership or call Explorit at 530-756-0191.

• Only a few dates left for Spring school programming so call soon for reservations. Fall program availability is open. For more information, please visit https://www.explorit.org/programs. To reserve call (530) 756-0191.


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