FEB 13, 2016 12:12 PM PST

Brains Can Store 10x More Memories Than Previously Thought

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

On appearance alone, the human brain not a uniquely impressive organ. It's about a 3-pound mass of squishy matter decorated with lots of folds and grooves. This appearance underlies possibly the most advanced and intricate biological computers in evolution. And it may actually even more powerful than we imagined, as scientists recently estimated that the brain can store 10 times more memories than previously thought possible.

Based on a rat hippocampus brain model, researchers calculated synaptic length and various synaptic sizes. From this, they calculated, in computer terms, that each synapse can store an average of 4.7 bits. Applied to the entire brain, the team estimated that the storage capacity is equivalent to 1 petabyte, which is the same as 1,000 terabytes or 1 million gigabytes. Imagine if your laptop had that storage capacity, let alone your brain!

Impressive as it is, some researchers think 1 petabyte is an underestimate while some remain skeptical. After all, this was based on a rat brain, which while similar, is not the same as a human brain. Watch the video to learn more about the brain's amazing storage powers.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 22, 2020
Neuroscience
Why Don't Babies Always Remember What they Learn?
AUG 22, 2020
Why Don't Babies Always Remember What they Learn?
Researchers from Ruhr- Universitaet Bochum (RUB) in Germany have found that the mood babies are in when they learn somet ...
SEP 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
SEP 10, 2020
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
Snails, marine and terrestrial, are likely primarily imagined to be attached to a substrate. However, under the waves, t ...
SEP 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
Saving Myanmar's Critically Endangered Turtles
SEP 10, 2020
Saving Myanmar's Critically Endangered Turtles
New images of hatchling Burmese roofed turtles have renewed hope to save this critically endangered species. Late last m ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
DEC 15, 2020
Immunology
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
DEC 15, 2020
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
A recent study published in the eLife journal examined how they can improve older adults' responses to vaccines ...
MAR 05, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
MAR 05, 2021
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
The world's coral reefs face numerous threats, including climate change, pollution, and habitat loss. Since 2014, an ...
Loading Comments...