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Author Topic: Does my brain have a capacity?  (Read 3815 times)

Offline stana

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Does my brain have a capacity?
« on: 16/11/2007 18:30:21 »
Hey..Does my brain have a certain amount of storage? Cause Ive heard of nuclear physicists that are so..engulfed in nuclear physics that they can forget how to make a cup of tea!? Is this true..Could it be true!? Also is there a point where i can stop learning things? or would my brain just..get rid of stuff and i didn't need and make room?

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another_someone

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Does my brain have a capacity?
« Reply #1 on: 16/11/2007 21:53:59 »
Inevitably there is a limited storage capacity, but the brain does many things, and only a very small fraction of it is involved in concious thought.

A very crude example is where you might be concentrating on something so intensely that you don't hear someone entering the room behind you (i.e. you are committing brain resources to your thought processes, so you switch off the bit of the brain that would process sounds).
 

Offline techmind

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Does my brain have a capacity?
« Reply #2 on: 18/11/2007 00:01:25 »
The brain also doesn't store memories like a videotape. It uses a kind of extreme (and lossy) neural data-compression system. For example if you were asked to "remember" your walk to work "this morning", you'll probably actually recall a "generic" memory of the route and key features, overlaid together with some specific events from today's particular walk. Somewhat disturbingly the brain sometimes (and unconsciously) invents "facts" in order to help paint a coherent picture, even if they didn't actually happen or exist. This is a particular risk if someone repeatedly probes for details which you have no real recollection of. This is a hazard or any kind of investigative questioning, and a route to planting "false memories". Also if you recall an event very many times, you actually start find yourself recalling the story of the event, rather than the event itself. The story may also become embelished with more "facts" the more time it is told.
(There's a fascinating BBC Radio 4 documentary series on memory, which they dust down and air every so often. Look out for it!)

What I'm trying to get at is that the brain/memory isn't going to abruptly become full, rather I guess there's all sorts of ways it can "drop" less important details, almost imperceptably.
« Last Edit: 18/11/2007 00:04:22 by techmind »
 

another_someone

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Does my brain have a capacity?
« Reply #3 on: 18/11/2007 00:42:51 »
On the other hand, if the brain did remember everything accurately, it could not be inventive, and we would lose our ability to generalise and be creatively inventive.
 

Offline TonyCap

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Does my brain have a capacity?
« Reply #4 on: 18/11/2007 07:42:12 »
On the other hand, if the brain did remember everything accurately, it could not be inventive, and we would lose our ability to generalise and be creatively inventive.

No, problem.  Our creative brains can invent technology for accuracy.  :)
 

Offline techmind

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Does my brain have a capacity?
« Reply #5 on: 19/11/2007 18:33:01 »
On the other hand, if the brain did remember everything accurately, it could not be inventive, and we would lose our ability to generalise and be creatively inventive.
If we remembered everything videotape-style then sure we wouldn't be able to generalise nor could we cope with all the information!
So the neural data-compression is definitely a good thing. It represents selective, intelligent, efficient storage.  :)
It's just the way "memories" are malleable (and able to be manipulated) that is a little scary.  :o
« Last Edit: 19/11/2007 18:34:41 by techmind »
 

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Does my brain have a capacity?
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