3 myths of how the brain works dispelled

Credit: Visme
Credit: Visme

As a neuroscientist, I see scientific myths about the brain repeated regularly in the media and corners of academic research. Three of them, in particular, stand out for correction. 

Myth number one is that specific parts of the human brain have specific psychological jobs. According to this myth, the brain is like a collection of puzzle pieces, each with a dedicated mental function… Instead, the human brain is a massive network of neurons. Most neurons have multiple jobs, not a single psychological purpose.


Myth number two is that your brain reacts to events in the world. Supposedly, you go through your day with parts of your brain in the off position. Then something happens around you, and those parts switch on and “light up” with activity.

Brains, however, don’t work by stimulus and response. All your neurons are firing at various rates all the time. What are they doing? Busily making predictions.

The third myth is that there’s a clear dividing line between diseases of the body, such as cardiovascular disease, and diseases of the mind, such as depression. 


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Under the hood, however, your brain creates your mind while it regulates the systems of your body. That means the regulation of your body is itself part of your mind.

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