It may not always be as efficient as a computer, but the human brain has a spectacular storage capacity. Consider this -- the human brain contains billions of neurons, and each neuron forms about 1,000 connections with other neurons. That’s trillions of connections. But we’re not talking about one memory per neuron. Data is shared exponentially throughout the neural network, so the brain’s capacity is closer to 2.5 petabytes -- which would be similar to a DVR that could store three million hours of TV shows. In other words, you’d have to leave the TV on for 300 years to use up all that storage capacity.
Memories of a lifetime:
- Scientists admit, however, that the brain’s exact storage capacity for memories is difficult to calculate. How do you measure the size of a memory?
- When it comes to short-term memory, the brain can get overloaded. Like a computer, juggling too much information at one time can slow or stunt the brain’s performance.
- If you can’t remember it, a memory is probably not important. And similar memories can interfere with each other, getting in the way of recalling the right one.