“Lucy” or Real Life?

This article discusses the idea that humans are not accessing the full extent of the brain’s power. This reminds one of the 2014 film Lucy, which is based off of the false idea that humans only operate 10% of their brains. While this may be true consciously at the most, it certainly does not apply to the vast amount of unconscious work the brain is constantly doing – making sure the body is breathing, regulating internal operations, and ensuring that the body moves when and how it should.

While the article is not proposing the distribution of brain-expanding medications to U.S. servicemembers, it does report on findings that mindfulness training leads to better performance in high-stress situations. In particular, it talks about the role that focused attention and sensory perception can play in chaotic environments, such as the battlefield. The ability of soldiers and sailors to focus their attention on specific tasks allows them to operate better under pressure, ignoring bodily stimuli that could be potentially distracting. This in turn involves the control of sensory perceptions, including the ability to focus more on a particular sensory stimulus. These suggest some support for attention theories such as selective attention and load theory.

Overall, the article seemed somewhat difficult to understand. It is clear that the author was trying to appeal to a layperson audience, including those with little to no knowledge about cognitive psychology. Their explanation of the research was a little wishy-washy. However, the article was well-written overall. Multiple studies involving servicemembers were cited, along with real-world applications and results. I found this article to be fascinating, particularly in its consideration of balancing technological advances with natural human abilities in an ever-changing world of wars.


2 thoughts on ““Lucy” or Real Life?

  1. julianv

    I feel like this post is too short to be able to properly interact with. Question: what form of mindfulness training? I think it would be good to understand the type of training that the participants went through, even if just a very brief explanation. It’s very interesting that soldiers are able to undergo training that overrides the body’s natural reactions and instincts, and instead focus on what they’re trained to do. What would be some examples of how they focus on one perceptual stimulus in order to drown out others. It would be good to know how you personally relate this article to selective attention and load theories. What about selective attention theory would play a part in this? What about load theory would be able to explain this phenomenon?

    I feel like this blog has a good voice and that you brought up an interesting topic, using a source to fight against a common myth with a fun perspective was well done. Thank you for sharing!

  2. awaltrip

    I remember watching this movie with my mother soon after it came out, and I asked her if we really only used 10% of our brain. After a bit of research, I quickly figured out that was a complete lie. The best way I’ve ever heard the way in which our brain works was, I believe from “Brain Games,” “the brain works like a house, you use every room, some less than others. Some of the lights are on all the time, others at different times, and they are probably never all on at the same time; but overall you use 100% of the entire house.”

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