Do you think you know how your brain works? Chances are you have been wildly misled by some common myths about your neurological functions.
The brain is perhaps the most complex organ in the human body, and as such it has taken decades of elaborate scientific research to even begin to understand how it functions. In the process, some incomplete or even false assumptions have been made and disseminated amongst the general public.
While most of these myths are hardly harmful or capable of affecting your daily life, some are capable of costing you time, effort, or both. Understanding your brain is also an integral part of maintaining it and preventing neurological decay. Discussed below are some of the more common and stubborn brain myths and the science debunking them.
You Are Either Left Brained and Logical or Right Brained and Creative
This myth has managed to stick around because people generally wish to believe that their talents and inclinations are determined on a biological basis at birth. It is also a convenient way for individuals to blame their strengths and weaknesses on something entirely beyond their control. This myth has even been cited as a valid explanation for homosexuality in left handed people, dyslexia in the general population, and a litany of other conditions.
In reality, however, this myth began in the 1800’s when doctors began to notice that injury to one side of the brain tended to cause a loss in specific abilities or functions. Recent research, utilizing far more complex technology, has actually revealed that the two sides of the brain are far more connected than was originally believed. Being creative does not mean that you can’t be logical and vice-versa.
Alcohol Kills Brain Cells
his myth is still quite pervasive, and can be heard everywhere from middle school classrooms to adult substance abuse meetings. While alcohol does indeed have a tremendous effect on the body and brain, it does not actually permanently kill off any brain cells. If it did, you would feel noticeably different after every drinking session.
In fact, for alcohol to permanently kill off brain cells you would literally have to drink yourself into a coma. Studies of the brains of alcoholics and tee-totalers showed no difference in brain cell density. Rather, alcohol simply inhibits the function of brain cells while you are under the influence.
Television, Video Games, and Computers make you Dumber
This myth has been cited by countless parents and educators, yet is by definition far too broad to be scientifically valid. Even when analyzed on a more concrete, specific basis, it has been shown that such media only changes how your brain functions rather than outright making you less intelligent.
Rather than remembering countless formulas and facts, you learn how to rapidly search for the answers on the internet. You are still capable of learning and remembering these things, but you simply choose to use your brain in a different manner. Even if you spend a dozen weeks playing video games, your brain is still capable of rebounding and tackling complex tasks whenever you choose.