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15/02/2012

Do we only use 10% of the brain, leaving another 90% to play with? Or is that all a myth? And does playing Mozart to babies make them clever? Claudia Hammond finds out if these beliefs are true.

Neuro-scientific nonsense in Claudia's cross hairs includes the notion that we use only 10% of our brains.

The other 90% of our grey matter sits idly, waiting for us to somehow access it.

On a trip to a brain scanning lab at University College, London, Claudia hears from neuroscientist Sophie Scott that experiments monitoring brain activity reveal the myth to be just that. Functional brain imaging machines quite definitely show that much more than a tenth of our neural circuitry is hard at work even when we do something simple like moving our fingers.

Claudia also examines the notorious 'Mozart Effect' - the concept that playing the music of Mozart to young children will make them grow into more intelligent people by enhancing brain development. Quite an industry built up around selling Mozart CDs for this purpose. The truth turns out to be mundane and any temporary boost of your performance in an IQ test could just as validly be named the Gaga Effect.

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18 minutes

Last on

Fri 17 Feb 2012 23:32GMT

Chapters

  • We only use 10% of the Brain

    On a trip to a brain scanning lab at University College, London, Claudia hears from neuroscientist Sophie Scott that experiments monitoring brain activity reveal the statement to be wrong

    Duration: 08:46

  • The Mozart Effect

    Claudia discovers that there is no evidence that playing Mozart to babies makes them smarter

    Duration: 10:42

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