If we’re honest with ourselves, memory is a weird concept. We have a bunch of cells inside of our head that spark electrical communications between them, and when they talk, we can recall stuff that happened to us in the past. We can see images, hear sound, and feel feelings of the things we’ve been through. It’s kind of strange, isn’t it? The human brain is truly amazing.
When we think about how bizarre memories really are, it makes the human experience and brain seem even more incredible. Even though scientists don’t really know how memory works, they can’t figure out what memories look like, and they’re not sure how the brain brings all of its functions together, they have figured out a few things. Stuff like:
Memory Storage is Basically Limitless
According to a psychology professor at Northwestern University, the human brain is basically a bottomless pit of potential memory. That doesn’t make me feel any better about how often I forget where I put my keys...
Memories Change Over Time
When you remember stuff, you might not be remembering things correctly. Some scientists think it’s because when you recall something, you’re really just remembering the last time you remembered something. Hmmm...
The Hippocampus is Probably Where Memories Live...Probably
Scientists are pretty sure that memories live in the hippocampus, a region in the brain that looks like a horseshoe. They’re not sure why, what they look like, or how they’re stored, but they’re pretty sure that’s where they are.
Memories Start in the Womb...Supposedly
I can’t remember anything from before I was about 4 years old. For all intents and purposes, I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but scientists think that we still remember sounds from when we were in our mothers’ tummies!
An Adult Brain Weighs 3 Lbs
According to the cute kid in Jerry Maguire, the human head weighs 8 pounds. Turns out that the brain is almost half of it. Cool, huh?
Neuron Count: 100,000,000,000+
Neurons are the cells in your brain that talk to each other to make stuff happen. Scientists think that the average human brain has over 100 BILLION neurons. That’s a bunch.
Sleep = Memory
When we sleep, our brains are actually cataloging and storing memories from the day. That’s why, when we start losing sleep, we forget a bunch of stuff. Sleep is a necessary component of memory storage, so make sure you catch up on your ZZZs every night!
Brain freeze is caused by the arteries leading to your brain getting cold and constricting. That causes your frontal lobe to feel bad. Knowing is only half the battle, and I’m sure next time you eat your Blizzard too quickly, having this knowledge isn’t going to help ease the pain at all.
Brain Caused Eyesight Loss
Did you know that your brain is to blame for a blind spot in your eyes? That’s because the optic nerve--the tissue that carries sight information into your brain for processing--goes right through your eyeball. The area where it enters your eye can’t see anything, making a blind spot.
The brain is the reason for a type of 20/20, but in this case, it doesn’t have anything to do with your eyesight. According to scientists, your brain uses about 20% of your oxygen and 20% of your blood. What a resource hog!
So there you have it! Even though the brain and its memories are a mystery, they’re not complete enigmas. If you don’t remember anything else about this article, just make sure you get enough sleep. Your memories will thank you!