The human brain is one of the wonders of nature, a single asset that has made humanity the most dominant species on the planet. If it was not for our brain, it would have been virtually impossible to survive on the planet. Our brain manages a wide variety of things such as memory, thoughts, analysis, motor skills, breathing, vision, touch, emotion, hunger, temperature and several other processes in the body.
With so much to do, it is apparent that the brain has a lot of data storage and processing capabilities. But exactly how much? How many gigabytes is the human brain? What is the maximum memory limit of the human brain? To answer such questions, here are some important things to understand.
What is the storage capacity of the human brain?
While it is difficult to arrive at an exact memory capacity of the human brain, we can get a basic idea based on the number of neurons in the brain. Neurons are essentially informational messengers and can be loosely described as wires in layman’s terms. Neurons utilize chemical and electrical signals to send information in various parts of the brain. They are also present in the spinal cord, referred to as motor and sensory neurons, interneurons, and neuropils.
An average individual’s brain has around a billion neurons. Each neuron has around 1,000 connections to other neurons. A simple multiplication shows the presence of over a trillion connections. Apart from working as a data transfer system, neurons also make memories by altering how they talk to each other. If one neuron stored a single piece of information, human brain capacity would be limited to a few gigabytes of storage space. It would be just around a USB drive or an iPod.
But thanks to nature, neurons can combine in several different ways to store a wide variety of information. This process increases the storage capacity of the human brain in an exponential manner. As per estimates, the human brain has memory storage capacity of around a million gigabytes. That is comparable to 300 million hours of TV shows, if you count in the binary system of ones and zeroes.
Can the human brain run out of memory storage space?
Technically, there could be a max limit of human brain memory storage space. However, since the memory storage capacity of the human brain is extremely large, it is unlikely that your brain will ever run out of storage space. But your memory can be affected by other factors such as Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumor, dementia, degenerative nerve disease, physical injuries, etc.
Also, the brain keeps forgetting earlier memories that may be no longer relevant or useful. That is why most adults have only limited recollection of their childhood days. Only a few memories from the past are preserved. With unwanted memories continuously getting erased, our brain is unlikely to run out of storage space.