How the Brain Works: Test Your Medical IQ

Humans only use about 10% of our brains.

It's a common myth that we only use 10% of our brains. Evidence shows humans use 100% of our brains. We may not use all of our brain at any given moment, but most of our brain is active most of the time, and over a day 100% of it gets used.

True False

A mother plays classical music for her baby while it's in the womb. How does this affect the child's brain?

The so-called "Mozart effect" is the myth that playing classical music for babies while in utero will help increase intelligence or boost IQ. However, studies have debunked this myth. The best way to increase intelligence in terms of music is to give a young child a musical instrument to learn. A 1997 UCLA study of 25,000 students found that those who studied music tested higher on the SATs and reading proficiency exams than students not exposed to musical pursuits.

It increases a child's intelligence It will make them a good musician It helps children become more organized It has no effect

Brain development stops when people reach their…

Even though people are typically considered adults at age 18, brain development continues until our 20s. The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that keeps impulses in check, allows you to work toward goals, and helps evaluate consequences is not fully developed until about age 25.

Teens 20s 40s It never stops

Creative people are considered "right-brained" while logical people are thought to be "left-brained."

The idea that people are either "left-brained" or "right-brained" is a myth. The myth states that people who are logical and skilled in math or languages are left-brained, while people who are artistic and creative are right-brained came from studies of people who had the hemispheres of their brain disconnected from one another as a last resort treatment for severe epilepsy. While the two hemispheres of the brain function differently, in healthy people they are connected and each side communicates with the other.

True False

During sleep, the brain…

In addition to dreaming, the brain is very busy while you sleep. It helps improve your memory by moving newly learned information or skills to regions of the brain that store long-term memories, clears out waste products that build up during the day, and processes information to make connections that help us with decision-making or creativity.

Shuts off Rests Only dreams Is very active

People learn best when material is presented:

We've all heard of so-called visual learners, or verbal learners, or those who like to learn with their hands. For a long time it was believed that if people learned in their preferred learning style, learning would be enhanced. But psychological research has not found that people have different learning styles. We may prefer one learning style over another, for example, seeing pictures versus reading words, but research has not shown a correlation between how people may "like" to learn, versus how much they remember later on.

Visually Verbally Hands-on It doesn't matter

What does learning new things do to the brain?

When you learn something new, your brain forms new connections called synapses. Synapses are the way your brain cells (neurons) communicate with each other. As synapses strengthen, this allows for faster connections between neurons, which can speed up processing in the brain. This allows us to think faster and recall things more easily.

It makes new connections It replaces old information It produces new neurons (brain cells) It slows the thought process

Once we reach adulthood, we stop producing new brain cells.

It was previously believed that older adults did not grow new brain cells (neurons). Newer research shows that while we do lose some brain cells as we age, we also grow new ones. Healthy older adults can produce as many new brain cells as younger people. However, older adults do not develop as many new blood vessels, and this may result in the new neurons making fewer connections than in younger people.

True False

Genes account for 50% percent of our intelligence.

Intelligence is influenced by many factors. Your genes influence about 50% of your intelligence. The other part of the equation is environment, which can include a child's parenting, education, home environment, availability of resources, and nutrition.

True False

What is the optimal age to learn a new language?

We all know it's usually more difficult to learn a new language as adults. But it turns out that children can readily learn a new language up to the age of 18. However, in order to be as proficient as a native speaker, language lessons should start by the age of 10. After age 10 but before age 18, children can still learn a foreign language readily but because there is a shorter window for learning a new language before that ability declines, they will not be as fluent as native speakers.

Starting from birth Up to age 10 Up to age 18 Any age

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