Human mind has always been, and still remains, a mystery, especially when it comes to our memories. Ever since we were born our brains have been constantly trying to figure themselves out. And naturally, scientists have conducted millions of test and experiments to uncover the deepest secrets of the human mind, but we’re still nowhere close to even dipping our proverbial toes in the vastness that is out consciousness.
Even with such unimpressive results, the scientist have been able to identify quite a few extremely curious properties of our brains. Here are 6 fantastic facts you didn’t know about memory!
1. How Much Info Can Your Brain Fit?
Not that long ago, in 2016, scientists were able to identify that a rat’s brain neurons could code information in 26 different ways. And since rat and human neurons are almost identical in their structure, the researchers managed to extrapolate that our brains could potentially fit 1 petabyte of information. Let’s just say that you’d be able to download all of your favorite movies and TV shows a hundred times over and there would still be free space for hobbies, work skills, and other unnecessary things.
2. Snails Exchanging Memories
Last year researches made an interesting experiment with sea snails. While trying to figure out if genetic memory exists, a team of California scientists repeatedly zapped specimen A, trying to teach it to tuck away its flaps for longer to avoid being shocked. It worked! Now they took RNA from snail A and transplanted it to a non-suspecting snail B who’s never been zapped before. What do you think happened? Snail B tucked its squishy flaps for much longer than a regular snail, thus proving that memories can be transmitted through RNA… we just don’t know how exactly that works.
3. Is Hypnopedia A Thing?
You’ve seen it in the movies and on TV: someone wants to learn something so they play the required material in their sleep, because that’s how our brain works, apparently. Thing is, you actually can learn stuff in your sleep but it’s not all that fancy. You can basically train your brain to, let’s say, make you feel sick whenever you smell alcohol or cigarette smoke. Other than that a sleeping brain is just that, with a strange exception. If you play some patterns over white noise while in the REM sleep stage, your brain will most likely remember them.
4. Treatment for Alzheimer’s?
Sadly, there is still no cure for this degenerative decease, but in 2015, a group of Australian researchers allegedly found a way to remove the plaques that build up and block brain functions. It’s the next best thing, if you ask me. So what’s the treatment? A) it is noninvasive so the tissue will not be damaged and B) it’s called “focused therapeutic ultrasound” which means that it sends superfast sound waves into the brain, helping the blood-brain barrier expand and releasing the cells that eat up the plaques and lesions that cause Alzheimer’s.
5. Crazy Memory Trick
Canadian scientists conducted a study involving 48 people, half of which were in their 20’s, and the other half – in their 80’s. The volunteers were given a list of words they had to memorize using either writing down the words and their attributes, or they could just draw what they heard. After that all participants were supposed to recollect as many words as they could. Here’s the fun part: people who visualized and drew their words remembered most of them. As a noob artist myself I can definitely tell you that you won’t easily forget what you’ve visualized in your head and then put on paper. So if you want to remember something – just doodle it!
6. Math Can Traumatize Your Mind
Saved the juiciest for dessert. Every student ever knows this feeling of anxiety and helplessness when they’re told to solve an equation but all they can think of is “NOT MATH”. That’s called “math trauma” and it’s a real is a thing. Dealing with numbers is no small feat, especially in a socially pressing environment such as a classroom filled with your friends and enemies. You really don’t want to be called an idiot for not finding that “x”, do you? Turns out all that pressure leads to fear which is what makes you suck at calculus. Basically, fear blocks your memory to save you from a saber-tooth tiger hiding in your cave. Bad example but you understand what I’m saying. It’s the fight-or-flight only the “fight” option is currently unavailable. So next time you don’t know how to use a formula, just go ahead and ask your teacher. 9/10 times they will help you figure it out!