Your brain is a magnificent organ! It is responsible for everything you do, say, feel and remember. It keeps your heart pumping and your lungs breathing, and it regulates your hunger and your body temperature.
It does so much for you, but how much do you really know about your own brain?
Take this quiz to find out…
What percentage of your total brain capacity do you use?
It’s a myth that we use only 10% of our brains. Over the course of the day, you use every part of your brain. Even during sleep, parts of our brains remain active, including the frontal cortex, which controls higher level thinking and self-awareness, and somatosensory areas, which help people sense their surroundings. Incidentally, no one knows who started the 10% myth. It likely persists because people are intrigued by the idea that they have unused potential that can be tapped into.
If your brain is of average weight, it weighs approximately:
Human brains weigh more than the brains of polar bears (about one pound) but far less than the brains of sperm whales (about 17 pounds).
Whose brains are bigger—women’s or men’s?
Men’s brains are approximately 9% bigger than women’s, but scientists stress that this does not mean that men are more intelligent.
Which type of memory helps you to remember a new phone number just long enough to make a call?
Short-term memory allows us to hold a few items briefly, such as the digits of a phone number when you’re about to place a call, before the information is stored or forgotten. Transferring that number into your phone or an address book is working memory in action. However, if you know your best friend’s phone number by heart, that’s thanks to long-term memory.
What part of the body alerts your brain to the temperature change that causes “brain freeze” or "ice cream headache"?
When you eat ice cream or drink something very cold, the drastic temperature change in your mouth can irritate your trigeminal nerve (also called the fifth cranial nerve), which transmits signals between the brain and the face, eyes and teeth. While the pain of an irritated trigeminal nerve is only fleeting for most people, it can be disabling for individuals with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic condition that can cause severe pain with even a light touch to the face.
Which cells in your brain are highly specialized to transmit information between cells?
Neurons are the basic communication units of the brain and nervous system. Each neuron consists of a cell body and its branching fibers—root-like dendrite fibers that receive messages from other neurons and a single axon fiber that passes messages along to other neurons. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that allow messages to bind to and activate receptors on other cells. An electrotransmitter is something that applies to electronics and telecommunications—not brains.
The tiny gaps between neurons in which messages jump from one neuron to another are called:
Neurons don’t actually touch each other. Messages are transmitted via chemicals (neurotransmitters) that cross the synaptic gap (or synapse) to be picked up by the dendrites of other neurons. The synaptic gap between the axon terminal of one neuron and the dendrites of a receiving neuron is less than one-millionth of an inch wide!
How long can your brain survive without oxygenated blood?
After four to six minutes, your brain cells begin to die. However, you may lose consciousness after just 30 seconds without blood flow to the brain, unless you have specialized training in breath holding, as might be undertaken by divers or musicians who play wind or brass instruments.