Lucy: A film fascinated with the human brain

Many of you may have  seen in theaters or a glimpse on TV commercials the movie “Lucy” (Trailer for Lucy) that was released in theaters July 25th, 2014. I personally have not seen this movie but I have seen TV commercials and have watched the trailer for this movie and grasped a basic understanding of what the movie is about. The concept of this movie was that humans only use 10% of their brains capacity but in a rare case, this woman Lucy is able to go beyond that 10% and acquire certain skills that other humans can not retrieve in their brain.

If you did not know before, this claim that we only use 10% of our brain is a myth. Authors, producers, directors, and the media use anything they can to make an interesting film or book society will want to buy or pay to see. There have been tons of movies and books on the end of the world phenomenon, for example, that people are fascinated with because it’s interesting for us to think about something we do not really know. The “10% Myth” is one of those marvels that some people may believe in and others not at all.

There has been many theories about where this myth of “We only use 10% of our brain” has come from. According to the Scientific American, the myth has been linked to the American psychologist and author William James, who argued in his novel “The Energies of Men” published in 1907, that we are only making use of a small part of our mental resources. They also said it has been associated with Albert Einstein, who used this figure to describe his own intellect.

Now we may ask ourselves, “Why does such a myth still exist?” A plausible reason why this myth has been popularly is because it is sometimes used to describe psychic powers according to Snope Magazine. People pay to see someone with “intuition” or “supernatural power.” These unique individuals are able to use 80-90% of their brain compared to the ordinary person that is only able to use “10%” favoring the myth for this specific business or entertainment. The myth is also common for people to use when one cannot remember or retain information that they want to tap into. If we can’t remember something, what else to blame but the brain?

If you are one of those people that are firm believers that we do only use 10% of our brain, then you probably found the film, “Lucy” pretty intriguing. From what I saw, she learned how to write Chinese in an hour, can move people with her mind, feel every living thing, and much more. This mix of unused intellect and intuitive brain powers fascinates people who believe in the 10% Myth that if we could access the other 90% of our brain, what would we be like and how would that change our society?

On the other side of the subject, people who believe the 10% Myth is really a myth can back the brain up with scientific studies on the brain. Looking at the Scientific American again, it’s true that at any given moment all of the brain’s regions are not simultaneously active, but brain researchers using imaging technology have shown that, just like the body’s muscles, most are continually active over a 24-hour period. This evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain according to neurologist John Henley. Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine did admit that at certain moments when we are simply just resting and thinking, we may be using only 10 percent of our brains. He also said that we use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time. If you study the brain, you’ll find out that 10 percent of it is composed of neurons the other 90 percent are glial cells. The mystery of this known fact is that glial cells support neurons but their function are unknown. Coincidentally, it’s not that we use 10 percent of our brains, merely that we only understand about 10 percent of how it functions.

The film “Lucy” gives the field of cognitive psychology attention to where the field is advancing in the future with the improvement in imaging technology and scientific studies that can help us find out more about what goes on inside our head.

2 thoughts on “Lucy: A film fascinated with the human brain

  1. mluning

    Thanks for posting this, it’s sort of one of my weird little pet peeves when people believe the 10% myth. I saw Lucy just because a lot of my friends were saying how outrageous it was and, indeed, it is just the most ridiculous movie I think I might have ever seen. As with the left brain – right brain myth, I wish we could somehow clear these things up for all humanity because they really aren’t helping us, especially if knowledge is power.
    In the movie there are a few scenes showing Lucy weaving through radio waves and satellite signals as if they were threads on a loom. Interestingly enough, there’s a TV show called Alphas that I used to like which I think worked on the same notion of the 10% myth. One of the main characters is a boy with autism who has the same ability as Lucy in these few scenes, to see and pick out specific waves that are invisible to others without the ability. I guess what I’m wondering here is would that ever for some reason (unimaginable to me) be possible? You wrote that, “This evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain according to neurologist John Henley.” If I’m wrong about interpenetrating what that means then by all means ignore what I’m about to type. We use all the parts of our brain, for sure, but what would it be like if we used our whole 100% at the same time, or do we already do that on occasion? Just musing curiosity. Thanks for making this post :]

  2. Meghan Turney

    That’s a great thought! In my opinion I feel like if we could use 100% of our brains at the same time we could process things more quickly. One of my favorite shows is Criminal Minds and I imagine if we could use 100% of our brains capacity at the same time we could read like Spenser Reid does by reading a page in like 5 seconds like he does for example. If you don’t watch the show then you probably don’t understand what I mean but that’s how I imagine using 100% of our brain at the same time. Thanks for your comment!

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