How many gigabytes can a brain hold?

Many times, when we study for too long, it seems that our brain can no longer accommodate more information. 

We feel that not one more piece of information fits in our head and that our storage capacity has probably reached its limit. However, our body is not like a computer, and the amount of information that the human brain can store cannot be measured in the same way.

In this post we are going to answer the question ‘’How many gigabytes can a brain hold?’’ we will discover how human memory works and how much is the maximum amount of information that can fit in the human brain.

How many gigabytes can a brain hold?

The human brain is capable of storing 100 terabytes of memory. Human beings have the greatest memory capacity in the animal kingdom.

Perhaps the human being created machines in his image and likeness as if it were a biblical text. Or perhaps ancient men simply designed their objects or tools, current technology after all, in order to make life more comfortable. Without any pretence of comparison of substance or form.

The only certainty we have is that the technology has been created. It has not sprouted ex nihilo from nature, but we have been the ones who, thanks to the development of civilization millennium after millennium, have been able to conceive what we now consider to be the future.

Within this creative dialectic, the human being has accumulated millions of data. Information that we have been storing in our own natural repository called the brain. An organ that is always awake, where millions of cells, in this case, called neurons, connect with each other at the speed of light in order to create connections between equals to generate memories or memories.

The human capacity for memory

Human memory, like that of machines, can be measured. Not in an exact way like these, but approximate. The human being is capable of storing around 100 terabytes of memory, or what is the same 100,000 gigabytes of memories, experiences, knowledge, etc. All of them embedded in our heads thanks to the aforementioned neurons.

One of the most important issues in this “animal feat” is the terminology we have used. How the language that at first has been established as technological or scientific has transcended its meaning and has gone from occupying strictly technical places to becoming used as a concept within social environments such as those that designate ideas about memories and memory .

Therefore, the main idea is that, how the nomenclature and the language itself, inherent to the human being, have been able to unite precepts, in this case nature and technology. Or what is the same, blurring, even more, the fine line between creations and creators.

How much information can the human brain store?

Many times, when we study for too long, it seems that our brain can no longer accommodate more information. 

We feel that not one more piece of information fits in our head, and that our storage capacity has probably reached its limit. However, our body is not like a computer, and the amount of information that the human brain can store cannot be measured in the same way.

Storage refers to the information retained in the brain, in one of the three possible memories: sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory.

In this way the brain manages the information we receive, without us feeling too overloaded with it. If we see something repeated several times, for a long time, it is possible that it remains in our long-term memory, while other things are simply passing through our brain.

Long-term memory is not located in a specific area of ​​the brain, but distributed in the cerebral cortex. After consolidating, it is stored as a group of neurons in the same area of ​​the brain that generated it. For example, it will be in the visual cortex if it is a memory-related to sight.

In this way, the memories are rebuilt and new elements are taken from the different parts of the brain, and they do not remain static. Although at the moment we do not remember some data, the information is still there. In addition, it is not possible to delete information at will, something that would be useful if we suffered a traumatic event.

How many gigabytes fit in the human brain?

The human brain is often considered one of the most powerful computers in the world, even though it lacks chips and its internal mechanics differ from those of a conventional computer.

From a functional and simplistic point of view, the brain of a computer is nothing more than an order processor: it collects information from outside or from the human body itself and executes orders on the different systems that make up the human body.

On the other hand, looking at it from a technical and potential point of view, the human brain has surprising technical characteristics that, if translated into the most common units within computing, surpass all the devices that surround us by a wide margin.

In terms of memory, for example, various studies have for years set the brain’s memory between ten and one hundred terabytes. It should be noted that a terabyte is equivalent to a trillion bits.

However, some more recent studies are more optimistic and raise this figure to a petabyte, a really high figure considering that a petabyte is a thousand times a terabyte.

To have a better notion in this regard, it can be taken into account that approximately 8000 songs can be stored in 32 GB. Then, doing some math, a petabyte would equal 250 million songs, a capacity that, according to the study, would be attributed to the human brain,

Although various studies manage to approximate the brain’s processing capabilities to the measurement units of technology, it would be a complete mistake to also associate the same laws and the same reasoning with the human brain. And it is that this organ has a much more complex structure and operation than that of a memory board or a processing chip.

Thus, to think that a petabyte of storage can be scarce for a lifetime is very simplistic reasoning, since the way in which the brain’s memory is managed is far from that traditionally used on a memory board.

The human mind has the ability to forget, based on multiple factors such as the relevance of information, which a machine does not do,

Given the aforementioned characteristics, it would not be unreasonable to say that the human brain is the most powerful computer ever built.

However, some futurists think that this statement will not be true for long, because, if Moore’s Law continues its evolution as it has done now, we could find computers more powerful than the human brain in just two decades.

Neurons and memory

The human brain has a trillion neurons, and each one forms a thousand connections with others, so that they can work on several memories at the same time. If we measured the capacity of our brain, we could say that it is close to 2.5 petabytes (one million gigabytes).

If we compare it, we could say that it is equivalent to 300 years in television programs.

It is not likely that someone uses all the capacity of their brain, because while some memories take up little space, others take up more. Although we store some information, other information is inevitably erased, leaving space for new memories.

We cannot delete information at will, because it is something that our brain does without us constantly analyzing it. Emotional memories are more likely to be recorded, while we have difficulty remembering little personal details.

In any case, it is not possible for our brain to be completely filled with information, because there is no one person who can experience so many things, or retain all the data for too long.

Did you know that we can store so much information in the brain?

FAQS: How many gigabytes can a brain hold?

How much data can a brain hold?

The human being is capable of storing around 100 terabytes of memory, or, what is the same, 100,000 gigabytes of memories, experiences, knowledge, etc. All of them embedded in our heads thanks to the aforementioned neurons.

Is human memory infinite?

Memory is not infinite. But it is also not like a hard drive that has a certain capacity. Memories are a network of neural tissue.

Can your brain get full?

In other words, can “full” be the brain? The response is a resounding no, because minds are more mature than that, well. A research released in Nature Neuroscience earlier this year reveals that old memory is often forced out of the brain for fresh experiences to develop instead of only crowding in.

Is every memory stored in your brain?

Memories are not stored in just one part of the brain. They are stored in different interconnected brain regions. … Implicit memories, like motor memories, are located in the basal ganglia and the cerebellum. Short-term working memory is primarily focused on the prefrontal cortex.

Why can’t you remember being born?

Infantile amnesia or childhood amnesia is the common inability for adults to remember the early years of their childhood. The hippocampus is key to encoding and storing episodic memory, and it does not mature until much later in our childhood.

In this post we answered the question ‘’How many gigabytes can a brain hold?’’ we discovered how human memory works and how much is the maximum amount of information that can fit in the human brain.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know!

References

Bartol, T. M., Cailey Bromer, Kinney, J., Chirillo, M. A., Bourne, J. N., Harris, K. M., & Sejnowski, T. J. (2015, November 30). Nanoconnectomic upper bound on the variability of synaptic plasticity. Retrieved January 29, 2021, from eLife website: https://elifesciences.org/articles/10778

Norman, D. A. (Ed.). (2013). Models of human memory. Elsevier.

Squire, L. R., & Zola-Morgan, S. (1988). Memory: brain systems and behavior. Trends in neurosciences, 11(4), 170-175.

Zacks, R. T., Hasher, L., & Li, K. Z. (2000). Human memory.

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