20 More Amazing Facts About Your Brain

The human brain is amazing and the more I read about it the more fascinated I become with not only it’s limitations, but also it’s immense power.

Since I originally wrote the post 30 Amazing Facts About Your Brain I have been on the look out for more amazing tidbits.

Here are another 20 for you to wrap your head round, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they don’t apply to you, because they do.

1. Your neocortex (the weird looking bit on the outside of your brain) is only about as thick as a dinner napkin and is made up of 6 layers.

However, if you were to pull yours out and stretch out all the folds it would be over 3 feet square. Unfortunately your planning skills would diminish rapidly and your ability to put it back in properly would be less than assembling a chest of drawers  from Ikea.

Meet My Wife, Mrs Brownson-Brownson

2. Very strangely you are about 4 times more likely to marry somebody with the same last name as yourself than someone who has a different name.

Your brain just loves continuity and it loves familiarity, so even though you may consciously think your partners name had zero to do with you falling in love and it was really their perfectly formed personality, you’d be wrong.

3. If you were to get up off the couch and sprint hard for 20 seconds or so you would increase the workload on your muscles by about 100x.

However, if you sat down with Gary Kasparov after recklessly challenging him to a chess match after one too many beers, no matter how hard you concentrated you’d only require your brain to increase its workload by about 1% before being humiliated with fools mate.

Mmmm, Chocolate Cake

4. You’re 40 – 60% more likely to buy food you can reach out and touch than food somebody describes to you or places behind a glass counter.

That’s why the old fashioned sweet trolleys really do generate more sales and top restaurants know this.

5. Your sensory system sends about 11 million bits of information to your unconscious brain per second. However, the conscious part of your brain is not aware of more than 16 to 50 of those bits and the lightweight can only deal adequately with about 4.

6. You’re completely unaware of about 95% of the activity that is going on inside your brain. If you weren’t your brain would freeze up quicker than a Windows PC running ME

7. You’re far more likely to give a large tip to a waiter or waitress if it’s a sunny day because the chemicals released by your brain because of the sunshine make you feel happier and more generous.

And The Winner is…….Roland The Rat

8. The reason why rats can sometimes beat humans in certain laboratory tests is because they have no prefrontal cortex to plan with.

Therefore, they listen exclusively to their unconscious mind and the associated electrical responses or gut feelings, whereas humans can get all wrapped up in trying to plan their best way out of the maze and end up cheeseless and very, very embarrassed.

9. There are over 100,000 miles of blood vessels in your brain.

If you pulled all yours out you could stretch them round the earth over 4 times. Unfortunately, you’d die and wouldn’t be around to see your amazing feat, but you probably would make the Darwin Awards and that’s no mean achievement.

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10. If you exercise your brain with puzzles, memory games and reading self development blogs (especially this one) etc you can continue to grow new neurons all your life.

Unfortunately most people don’t know this and thus presume aging equals cognitive decline and create a self fulfilling prophesy.

11. Your brain doesn’t want you trying to fly when you’re asleep shortly after you went to see Spiderman at the movies, so in effect it paralyses your body with a hormone designed to keep you from living out your dreams and dying a splattery death.

12. A piece of brain tissue the size of a grain of sand contains approximately 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses.

Your Brain Doesn’t Like Junk Food

13. What you eat effects the efficiency of your brain. A study of New York students showed that those who ate food filled with additives and artificial flavors were out performed by about 14% by those who ate more healthily.

14. Whereas 30% of your brain is given up to vision and all that goes with that such as spatial awareness, depth perception and recognition etc, your sense of smell is still the easiest way to create conditioned responses or anchors.

Smells enter the brain completely unfiltered by your belief system unlike other senses which is why smelling salts work so effectively.

The reason blind people often have other enhanced senses is because their brain thinks “Huh. I guess we’re not using that 30% for vision after all,  we may as well use it for something else” and thus builds new neural pathways for the other senses.

Cerebellum Killjoy

15. The reason you can’t tickle yourself is because your cerebellum knows it’s you doing the tickling and send a message to the rest of your brain to ignore the sensation and refuses to laugh, the miserable bastard.

16. Don’t be too hard on the cerebellum though because it controls your balance and without it you’d make a drunken 3 legged donkey look like an Olympic gymnast.

17. If you get really angry your limbic system has taken over your critical thinking and it can actually become literally impossible to access higher reasoning.

Which is why some people can go postal and nothing anybody can say can calm them down.

Fortunately, if you remove the source of their anger the Limbic system returns to normal after about 20 minutes. So don’t count to 10 when you’re mad, count to 1,200!

What The F?

18. Unless you have done this test before you’ll probably fail miserably at counting the F’s in the following sentence:

FINISHED FILES ARE THE RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF YEARS.*

19. Your brain is so soft that you could probably spread it on toast if you were completely insane and liked eating human brains and dying all at the same time.

20. It’s possible to be blind at a conscious level, but your brain is still able to see at an unconscious level. This is a phenomenon called Blindsight and has stopped many a blind person avoiding an open man hole cover much to their amazement (presuming somebody told them that is!)

20a. Your brain loves to connect to others and share information, therefore if you tweet or share this post on Facebook not only will I love you, but your brain will too. Win/Win!

I’d love to now if any of the above really shocked you or if you have some tatsy brain nugget you’d care to share with us in the comments.
*There are actually six ‘F’s’ but your brain will have struggled to spot the ones in the word ‘of’ as it tends to disregard that word for reasons best known to itself.