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Friday, May 6, 2011

Sobering News

Heard the oft-repeated assertion that we use only a small percentage of our brain's potential? I know I have; I've repeated it in classes I've taught. Some sobering news delivered by neuroscientists Chris Chamblin & Daniel Simons in their 2010 book "The Invisible Gorilla": It just ain't so. The authors make a strong case to support their position while on the other side, i.e. the oft-repeated assertion, I turned  up....no compelling data at all. If you find any, please direct me to a reliable source; rogue Internet sites don't count.

Chabris & Simons claim this canard is part of what contributes to an "illusion of potential" many of us have bought into. The authors debunk six other common illusions in their meticulously researched & persuasive book. This sobering news got me reflecting on other oft-repeated assertions I've heard and, like this one, repeated myself without first verifying their accuracy in any meaningful way. Heard the one that goes something like this? "Non-verbals play a much greater role in communication than the actual words we use". The % used can vary here - I've heard and/or said non-verbals are 2/3, 3/4, over 80% (etc.) of the equation. I'm now looking for data, specifically the %, on this. Considering how many times I've "quoted" these phantom percentages, I'm hoping my research turns up more than the "brain potential" malarkey did.

How about others you've heard? How much support have you found to verify the truth in any of them, regardless of how often they've been repeated? Chabris & Simons' book has me on the lookout. And I'm reminded of what Mark Twain said: "There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics".

1 comment:

  1. This article argues against the 10% myth: