Science Questions

Is there a limit to memory capacity?

Sat, 7th Jul 2007

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Question

Ed asked:

Homer Simpson once said; “Every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out of my brain”. I’m a history student, and as I sit here memorising the last 50 years of the EEC am I simultaneously forgetting potentially more important information, such as my sister’s birthday or how to play the harmonica?

 

Answer

(We put this question to Dr Howard Ring, a Neuroscientist from Cambridge University)

You should be perfectly safe. There’s probably far more capacity in your brain to put stuff in than you will ever use, although recalling it can be difficult, there’s been research recently demonstrating that recall is the tricky bit, but that there’s far more in there than you might have thought.

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