It was said in class that for a great many of our behaviors we utilize a big percentage of our neurons. This makes sense when we are talking about mechanical behaviors such as walking or driving. However, how can we be sure that we are indeed using all our nerve mass? We have no way of showing that when we listen all our neurons in the part of the brain dedicated to listening are really active. In fact, in the popular media it is often said that our species uses only a very small percentage of its brain nerve mass. There are hypotheses about how the exremely intelligent people, genii, have the ablity to use a quantitatively bigger portion of their brain. The problem, as I see it, is how do we test this idea. We still don't have a way of monitoring every individual neuron in our NS, and even if we did it couldn't be very practical considering the great number of neurons in our bodies.

Thus, the question of whether or not we use all of our neurons stays withot an answer. If we allow for the possibility that we do not use all the capacity of our NS, then we have to ask what is its purpose, why is it there? It is very unlikely that we have more than we need in such a highly developed and essential system because the evolution did an excellent job of cleaning out the unnecessary characteristics. A possible use for this excess nerve mass might be to provide a safety net in case the main pathways crash, but we can't say that it can replace the damaged mass. It would be interesing to know with certainty whether or not we use all of our neurons since this may allow for a better insight into ways the NS functions.

Yes, an interesting issue. Point in class wasn't that we use everything but rather that lots of things are used for almost anything. I've heard the popular press story that most people don't use all their brain, but I think that's an assertion that people could in principle act more wisely or thoughtfully rather than to be taken literally as a measurement of how many neurons are active. In principal, as we'll see, acting wisely or thoughtfully might mean either more active neurons or fewer. PG