Let’s get one thing out of the way: no matter what movies like Limitless claim, humans use more than 10 percent of our brains. This isn’t a surprise to a lot of people, but there’s more to the science of our cognitive potential than knowing that it can’t be true that 90 percent of our gray matter is inactive.
The claim has been around for a long time, but where did it come from, anyway? And why are we so eager to believe it? How much of our brain do we really use — and is there a limit to what we can learn?
The Verge spoke to University College London neuroscientist Sophie Scott to clear up some of these questions.