So in the new Scarlett Johansson movie Lucy (directed by Luc Besson), Johansson’s character ingests a drug that effectively turns her into a superhero. (This isn’t really a spoiler since it happens in the film’s first 15 minutes. Also, it’s on the movie poster above.) As Morgan Freeman, cast in the role of Explaining Scientist, explains, that’s because while most people only use 10 percent of their brains, Lucy is now running at a much higher capacity. A cool idea… but one that doesn’t make any sense at all, according to Johns Hopkins neurologist Barry Gordon.
“We use virtually every part of the brain, and that [most of] the brain is active almost all the time,” Gordon said of the oft-repeated, totally untrue 10 percent myth. . “Let’s put it this way: the brain represents three percent of the body’s weight and uses 20 percent of the body’s energy.” (The quote is from a 2008 Scientific American article and is cited in a Washington Post article debunking the 10 percent myth.)
So that settles it — watch the movie for the action or watch it for the ScarJo, but don’t watch it for the neuroscience.
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