15 Common Misconceptions About Human Brain

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Scientists are still learning how the brain works, but they have already found out a lot about what happens inside our heads. Yet, misconceptions about the brain persist. Here, we discuss the 15 common misconceptions about the human brain.

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Alcohol damages your brain cell

Alcohol does not actually kill brain cells. But if you are a regular and heavy drinker, it can harm your brain. The damage happens to the dendrites, which are like tiny branches at the ends of neurons or brain cells.

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Brain can feel pain

The brain does not have pain receptors, so it cannot feel pain. This means that even though the brain can interpret pain signals coming from other parts of the body, it does not experience pain directly.

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Mozart music can make you smarter

The idea that listening to Mozart’s music can boost your intelligence is known as the “Mozart effect.” It is a popular myth that suggests playing Mozart’s compositions can improve brain function and make you smarter. However, scientific research has not supported this claim.

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Left-brain vs. right-brain dominance

The idea that certain brain functions are more dominant in one hemisphere than the other is a common belief in popular psychology. For example, it is said that the left side of the brain is more logical and analytical, while the right side is more creative and emotional. However, this view is too simplistic and not entirely accurate.

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Our brain matures fully by 21

The human brain, especially the front part called the prefrontal cortex, does not fully mature at a specific age like 18, 21, or 25. Changes in the brain’s structure and the coating of nerve cells keep happening at a steady pace throughout adulthood.

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Brain cells grow till 2 years of age

It is not true that humans have all their brain cells by the time they are two years old. Medical experts used to think this until 1998, but now we know that new brain cells can grow after childhood in some parts of the brain, even into late adulthood.

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We use only 10% of our brain

The idea that people only use 10% of their brains is not true. While only a small number of brain cells are active at any one moment, a healthy person will use most of their brain throughout the day.

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Brain injuries cause behavioral changes

Phineas Gage had a serious brain injury when a long metal rod went through his skull. This injury made him temporarily unable to function normally. However, many exaggerated stories about his strange behavior later in life are not true or do not match the facts we know.

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The brain is gray in color

The brain is not just gray. While we often see gray brains, a living brain is actually full of colors. It has gray matter but also white matter, which connects the gray areas, and black stuff called ‘substantia nigra’. The red you see in the brain is blood.

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Brain injuries are permanent

Brain damage is not always permanent. It can happen from things like a blow to the head, but it does not always mean severe consequences. The brain can fully heal from minor injuries, and some people can even recover partly from more serious damage.

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Crosswords make your brain sharp

Many people do crossword puzzles daily, hoping it will keep their brains sharp and prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Unfortunately, even though crosswords can improve your vocabulary, there is no proof that they can actually keep your brain young.

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It all goes down after 40

After 40, your brain, like the rest of your body, starts to lose some of its abilities. Memory and focus might get a bit worse, but many mental skills actually get better with age. For example, wisdom is something that increases over time. You cannot measure its value.

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We have the biggest brain

We have the biggest brains, but it is not just about size. For example, a dolphin’s brain weighs a bit over one kilogram, and a sperm whale’s brain can weigh nearly eight kilograms. Most of the important stuff happens in the cerebral cortex, and humans have the biggest one.

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Our brain has 100 billion neurons

The number of 100 billion neurons in the human brain has been said so many times that no one really knows where it came from. But in 2009, a researcher counted the neurons in adult brains and found that the number was not quite right. This research showed that the human brain has about 85 billion neurons.

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The brain prefers learning styles

The idea of learning styles is that everyone has a favorite way to learn. For example, some people might learn better by listening, others by seeing, and some by doing things. A major study found no proof that using tests to find out someone using a learning style helps with learning.


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