What the Human Brain is Capable of?

This article will cover information on what the human brain is capable of. It will also cover several facts about the brain and its basic functions of the brain. In the end, some frequently asked questions about the brain will also be addressed. 

What the Human Brain is Capable of?

The human brain is capable of skills such as reasoning, rationalising, learning, as well as memory. The human brain has an impeccable ability to store and use memories. The human brain is also capable of creating around more than twice the ideas that make up the atoms of the universe. The human brain has the capability of acquiring and communicating with language and experiencing complex emotions. It is capable of perception, decision-making, problem-solving, and attention.

Neuroscientists have found emerging evidence that the human brain can have around 10 times more memory capacity than was previously thought. This would bring the total amount, in computer terms, to about 1 petabyte (1 million GB) of the bain storage capacity! This means the human brain’s memory capacity is equal to around 31,250 iPhone 7s of 32 GB kind. We hold all of that information in the human brain.

Thus, if we calculate the numbers of 125 trillion synapses and 4.7 bits of information per synapse, it rounds up to about 1 trillion bytes of information in the brain, i.e. 1 TB (Terabyte) (Bartol et al., 2015).

The cerebrum is responsible for controlling artistic and mathematical abilities. The cerebrum is composed of the right and the left cerebral hemispheres. It is believed that the hemispheres are tied down at the bottom and have multiple connections running within them (Clements, 2004). 

It is also suggested that the right cerebral hemisphere is responsible for the movement and functions of the left side of the body. The left cerebral hemisphere is responsible for overlooking the functions of the right side of the body. 

The right cerebral hemisphere is in control of one’s artistic and creative abilities, while the left hemisphere is in control of logic and rational thinking.

The cerebellum helps in distinguishing between various sounds, and helps in learning and regulating emotional responses. (Bower & Parsons, 2003). Alcohol consumption influences the cerebellum, hence it is difficult to coordinate movements, under the influence of alcohol.  

The limbic system consists of the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. It is largely responsible for memory and emotions. It is located between two cerebellar hemispheres and the brain stem.

The primary role of reticular formation is to filter out stimuli that join the brain to the spinal cord and also relay the various remainder signals to different other parts of the brain. 

The hippocampus plays a crucial role in storing information in the long- term memory. It has two “horns” and curves back from the amygdala. If the hippocampus is damaged a person cannot build new memories. The person might not be able to build new memories, however, the older memories before the damage might remain untouched. 

The most exciting news is that the brain does continue to create new cells in adulthood (Gage, 2002). In fact, brain cells regenerate from birth to death. This process of formation of new brain cells is called neurogenesis (Götz & Hunter, 2005). Neurogenesis takes place every day. This information can be used by us for stimulating and boosting cell regeneration actively.

According to some estimates, the human brain is also able to experience sensory stimuli presented to it in as less than 50 milliseconds. 50 milliseconds is one-twentieth of a second. However, scientists do believe that our brain can in fact respond to information briefer than this, information that lasts for less than a quarter of a millisecond.

The brain consists of brain cells called neurons that are responsible for processing and transmitting information in the brain, and from the body to the brain and vice versa. In order to communicate with each other, neurons in the brain use electrical as well as chemicals are known as ions. Ions are electrically charged particles that enable neurons to communicate with each other. 

These neurons communicate with each other by producing brain chemicals. These brain chemicals are called neurotransmitters. There are several types of neurotransmitters such as; dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, etc. 

Interesting Facts about the Human Brain

Below are some interesting facts about the human brain:

  • 60% of the brain is actually made of fat. This makes the brain the fattiest organ in the human body. These fatty acids are important for the efficient performance of the brain. Hence, it is necessary to fuel the brain with healthy nutrients.
  • The brain is not fully formed until the age of 25. Brain development starts from the back of the brain and then progresses to the front. Thus, the frontal lobes are the last to strengthen and make structural connections. The frontal lobes are responsible for planning and reasoning.
  • The brain’s memory storage capacity is assumed to be virtually unlimited. The brain contains about 86 billion neurons, which form connections with each other. This adds up to one quadrillion connections or 1,000 trillion connections. These neurons, over time, combine and further increase the storage capacity. It is important to note that in Alzheimer’s disease, a lot of neurons can get damaged and stop working, resulting in affecting the memory.
  • Brain information can travel up to 268 miles per hour. Neurons, when stimulated, generate electrical impulses which can travel from cell to cell and transmit information. When this process is disrupted, it can cause seizures or epilepsy.
  • By the age of 4, the spinal cord stops growing. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve tissues that support cells. It is responsible for transmitting messages from the brain to the body, and vice versa. The spinal cord is considered to be the main source of communication that connects the body to the brain. In cases where the spinal cord is affected, this communication is ruptured and can affect the immune system of the individual suffering from it.
  • It is not true that we only use 10% of our brain. In fact, we use all of it, even while sleeping. Neuroscientists have now confirmed that the human brain is always active.
  • The weight of the human brain is about 3 lbs or 1.4 kilograms. It makes up around 2% of the human body weight. 
  • According to Dr Darla Rothman, we spend around 4.4 seconds processing 100 words. However, our brains are naturally wired to process large amounts of visual data rather than text (Webb, 2017).
  • It is said that the brain’s memory capacity is closer to 2.5 petabytes. This means the brain’s memory capacity is 2.5 million gigabytes! Interestingly, neurons combine so that they form many memories at a time, thus, the brain’s memory storage is ever increasing.
  • According to Miller (1956), adults can hold upto 5 to 9 items in their short-term memory. It is usually believed that the short-term capacity of humans is around 7 plus or minus 2 items.
  • The human brain generates around 23 watts of power, which is enough to power a lightbulb. This power calls for the need for rest. Good sleep helps in maintaining the pathways in the brain. Sleep deprivation can increase the accumulation of a protein in the brain which is linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

Conclusion

This article covers information on what the human brain is capable of. It also covers several facts about the brain and its basic functions of the brain. In the end, some frequently asked questions about the brain will also be addressed. 

Frequently Asked Questions: What the Human Brain is Capable of?

Which side of the brain is responsible for self-recognition?

The right side of the brain enables self-recognition in humans.

What are brains made up of?

Soft tissue, including the grey matter, white matter, nerve cells, and non-neuronal cells make up the brain. The brain also includes small blood vessels. Brains also have high water content and nearly 60% of fat.

What is corticalization?

Corticalization is known as the folding of the cerebral cortex. Compared to other animals, humans have a wrinkled and folded cerebral cortex, this creates a greater size and surface area, which allows for enhanced learning, thinking and remembering. 

What is the amount of white and grey matter in the brain?

The brain consists of 60% white matter and 40% grey matter.

References

Bartol, M, T. et al. Nanoconnectomic upper bound on the variability of synaptic plasticity, eLife (2015). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10778

Gage, F. H. (2002). Neurogenesis in the adult brain. Journal of neuroscience, 22(3), 612-613.

Götz, M., & Huttner, W. B. (2005). The cell biology of neurogenesis. Nature reviews Molecular cell biology, 6(10), 777-788.

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