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Friday, July 25, 2014

Well, there goes my gameplan - it turns out a miracle drug won't make people supersmart after all


In the movie "Lucy," Scarlett Johansson portrays a woman whose brain power is boosted tenfold when the drugs that smugglers packed into her abdomen leak into her bloodstream.
The plot rests on a premise that even director Luc Besson admits is bogus: that average humans use only 10 percent of their brain capacity. Neuroscientists say the average healthy brain has no functionless regions, although dormancy can result from injury. It's true that "smart drugs" might enhance some brain functions, such as memory or attention, but they don't work by switching on unused circuitry.
The "10 percent myth" has been around for more than a century, and it just won't die, despite what neuroscientists say. That's what makes it so appealing as a movie motif, for "Lucy" as well as for previous examples of the genre such as "Limitless" and "Transcendence."
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