Do some people have more memory “space” or have better retrieval?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Maximum7, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. Maximum7 Registered Member

    I’ve read that the human brain capacity has 2.5 petabytes worth of memory storage. I have an excellent memory for details; even super obscure things that happened decades ago. I only have an average IQ but my recall is very good especially when my memory is jogged or if I had read something more than 1 time. I read that people with Autism may have better memories; and it is possible I am on the spectrum due to my lack of social skills. I also have read that people with larger visual cortex’s have better memories as well. This would imply that part of the brain is bigger and has more “space”. Yet I have read that forgetting is due to retrieval problems and not the inability to store stuff. Yet their are also a handful of people who remember everything and that is not the norm by any stretch of the imagination. So what’s the verdict? Is my memory better because I have a thicker, larger brain matter with more space OR is the retrieval system in my brain wired better?
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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I think it's more complicated than that. The brain isn't like a computer. When you retrieve a memory it is recombined each time from different parts of the brain. That's why it isn't necessarily accurate and memories can change over time.

    Smell is stored in one part of the brain, sound in another, smell in another, visual cues in another and these are all recombined each time you recall that memory. The whole memory is stored in one place like on a computer.

    You can even remember something that you can't remember

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    Meaning, someone can tell you about an event when you were 2. You have a favorite toy or you went on vacation somewhere and said or did something. You were told about this when you were 10 and you had no memory of this event.

    You are now 40 and you've replayed this storyline over and over in your head. Every time you go to Thanksgiving dinner with your extended family someone recalls that event. Now you've imagined it so many times that now you are sure you can remember that event when you were 2.

    You don't really remember the event but you think you do for the reasons mentioned above. Your brain can't distinguish the real event from the retold event.

    Athletes use a similar concept to visualize some technique they are trying to get better at. They learn it for real and then over the next few days they visualize it in their mind over and over and by the next time they need that technique, they are suddenly better at it just as if they were actually practicing it instead of just visualizing it.
    Michael 345 likes this.
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