The human brain is pretty damn amazing. Here are seven things you probably didn’t know about your personal powerhouse.
It Is the Size, Mate (And How You Use It)
We’ve all heard the age-old question, “Does size really matter?” Turns out that for the human brain, it really does! Humans have the largest brain-to-body mass ratio of all animals on earth. This doesn’t mean we have the largest brain – that award goes to the sperm whale with a brain about five times larger than a human’s – but it does mean we’re one of the smartest creatures around. In fact, as humans evolved, we may have lost some brawn in order to gain more brains so we could use tools, build complex societies, and create culture as we know it!
Neurons = Superheroes
Neurons are the real heroes of the brain! These specialized cells build the connections that make thought possible, and send and receive electrical and chemical signals. The human brain has more than 80 billion neurons, so you could say it’s pretty powerful.
Take That, Apple
Actually, that last statement was a bit of an undersell. The human brain is extremely powerful. Researchers say the human brain is more powerful than some of the world’s biggest supercomputers. Our brains are able to download, process, interpret and then act upon massive amounts of data at lightning speed. Ok, not quite as fast as the speed of lighting, but at a speed of around 150 miles per hour! Which is pretty dang fast, in our opinion.
I <3 Brains
We actually create all of our emotions in our brain. I say “create” because emotions originate in the brain, not the heart as culture would have us believe. Heartbreak, for example, is an extremely psychological feeling. While it might not happen in the heart, scientists believe it is still among one of the most intense psychological pains a human can experience.
Old Dog, Meet New Trick
Do you know the idiom, “You can’t teach an old dog new trick?” Well, it’s actually a load of bullsh*t.
The human brain is extremely malleable and can adjust and change depending on the situation and environment throughout its lifetime. This is called neuroplasticity: the ability for the brain to form new neural pathways even later in life. For example, you might be able to learn a new language even far into adulthood or rebuild your neural pathways after a serious brain injury. There are even examples of people who have learned to “see” using echolocation.
While these bat-people aren’t actually seeing with their eyes, some blind people can use echolocation to learn a lot about their surroundings, going as far as being able to distinguish the difference between a metal fence and a wooden one.
Feed Your Brain
All of the amazing things our brains does comes at a significant cost. The human brain requires a lot of energy to function. On average, about 20% of our energy is used by our brains even though the brain only makes up 2% of our total weight.
The Brain Makes Us Who We Are
You wouldn’t be alive without the brain! Ok, yes, there are a lot of factors that are needed for the existence of life. The heart is important for moving oxygen in our blood throughout our bodies, the liver filters toxins out of our circulation system, and our skin protects our insides from the world around us. These are all necessary and important, but without the brain, we would just be a body, a shell of a person. All of our personalities, our relationships, our ideas and our desires come from the brain and, even though we all have a brain, each brain is, and makes us, completely unique.
Without our brains, we just wouldn’t be who we are today!