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"We need to understand, too, that our capacity for storing to-be-learned information or procedures is essentially unlimited. In fact, storing information in human memory appears to create capacity—that is, opportunities for additional linkages and storage—rather than use it up." (page 420)

What are the sources and/or studies that justify this claim?




Cognitive Load Theory [1] breaks down our mental processes as storing schemata (information) in long-term memory. As of now, this is thought to be unlimited as its been difficult to disprove. Short-term memory, or working memory, involves retreival of information from long-term memory. Faster retreival is what we'd consider expertise. While long-term memory is used for the storage of knowledge, the actual information processing during problem-solving takes place in short-term.

Unlike long-term memory, working memory has a limited capacity and duration. This limits the number of schema (information) that can be managed at one time. CLT was originally designed to describe the interconnected-ness of worked examples when it comes to learning. Visual elements should have context, otherwise you are imposing more things for the mind to process (for example, an unnecessary puppy on a PowerPoint would require the mind to process its a puppy, determine it is not relevant to the information, and continue to ignore it). Long-term is uneffected by this process, but the stress imposed in working memory requires effort to maintain.

To answer the question of "What are the sources and/or studies that justify this claim?" - that's what modern Psychology is trying to figure out.

[1] https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C34&q=cog...


studies like this: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160120201224.h...

They essentially say the brain can hold approx. 2.5 petabytes. I don't think this can be measured accurately (or that it makes sense to translate it to bytes) due to the nature of neural networks, but it indicates that it's huge.

Other studies say it's around 500.000 "thought objects" (whatever that means) that you can hold in your long-term memory. But outliers like Rainman and others suggest that this is not necessarily the limit.


>> can hold approx. 2.5 petabytes

Depends on the type of media being stored. The drive uses different compression algorithms for different types of data. We don't store video as video. We remember situations and relationships of objects, then draw those object's onto the situation during recall. This is a big deal in areas like eye witness testimony, or pilots flying a plane. Sometimes you remember that an object (ie an instrument) was at a particular location, recognize it, and remember it according to the previous memory rather than save a second copy. That certainly saves space on the drive, but risks loss of current details. An abnormal instrument reading may be lost when the pilot's brain substitutes an image from a previous memory.

The notorious Clyde, of Bonny and Clyde, broke out of jail with a bar of soap. He held it like a gun and told people it was a gun. Everyone remembered seeing him holding a gun. Their brains stored a generic gun image and afterwards had a very clear memory of the gun, which was only ever a bar of soap pained black with boot polish.


Actually, it was Woody Allen in the movie "Take the money and run" which carved a gun out of a bar of soap. The escape attempt was almost successful until they entered the courtyard where it was raining heavily.

Apparently this scene was based on a real escape attempt by one Charles Makley which did indeed carve a gun out of soap and paint it black with shoe polish. He was however gunned down by prison guards, so the attempt was not successful.


If that is true, then I got words for the police officer who gave the lecture. I really hate when people teach me things that turn out to be myths. I've never seen the movie. I doubt I would have transposed the story.


don't worry, someone above pretty much considers Rainman a documentary


Please read about Kim Peek - that guy read two pages simultanenously while retaining 98% of the content. He had the content of around 12.000 books in his memory and could recite every page after reading it once.

He was the inspiration for the movie. But he wasn't very happy and felt trapped in his brain because no one was able to have meaningful conversations with him. Poor guy.

Reason for his insane memory is that the connection between the left and right hemisphere of his brain is missing. This means that all the information get saved because the filters aren't working properly.




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