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Home /Science / Fun Facts About The Brain That Will Blow Your Mind (Infographic)

Fun Facts About The Brain That Will Blow Your Mind (Infographic)

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By Olivia Harlow

Made up of gray fats and proteins, the human brain doesn’t look like much. Nevertheless, it is one of the most complex and mysterious organs known, giving life to art, sport, personality, and morals. With over 86 billion neurons, 2.5 million gigabytes of storage, and over 50,000 thoughts per day, the human brain is truly astounding. Here are some human brain facts that will make you think twice.

Infographic showing fun facts about the brain that will blow your mind.

25 Interesting Facts About the Brain, Psychology & the Mind

 

1. It can store an estimated 2,500,000 gigabytes

According to Paul Reber, Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, the human brain can store an estimated 2,500,000 gigabytes. That’s equivalent to 300 years worth of TV shows. [Scientific American]

2. The human attention span is shorter than a goldfish

Research shows that the average attention span has decreased by an average 12 minutes over the last 10 years. Today, the human attention span is shorter than a goldfish. [Time] Studies have even shown some links between device multi-tasking — for example, if you’re scrolling through social media while watching TV — and declining attention spans.

3. The average weight of the adult human brain is three pounds

On average, the adult brain weighs three pounds. For reference, this is comparable to how much a cantaloupe weighs. [National Geographic]

4. Memories are stored for both short-term and long-term use at the same time

Neuroscientists have known for a long time that the hippocampus stores short-term memories. However, a recent study revealed that while short-term memories are formed in the hippocampus, they are simultaneously stored in another part of the brain for long-term memories.

5. Vitamin B1 can help improve short- and long-term memory

Vitamin B1 is essential to producing the brain chemical acetylcholine, which is needed for concentrating and storing memories. An Australian study revealed that those who consumed B1 supplements and folic acid for two years improved long and short-term memory. [Huffington Post]

6. Easy access to information can make it harder to remember

Being able to quickly access information—i.e. via our borderline invincible Internet—actually makes it harder to remember. The harder we work to access data, the more likely we are to remember. [Huffington Post]

7. Memories start forming in the womb

Memories start forming in the womb, as this is a critical time for brain development. Memory recall can occur as early as four months into pregnancy. [ABC]

8. It uses 20% of the body’s total oxygen and energy

The brain uses 20 percent of the body’s total oxygen and energy, which travels to the brain through blood vessels. Nerve cells in the brain need a lot of energy; without adequate oxygen and energy to the central nervous system tissue, one can suffer impaired brain functions and neurological disorders. [Scientific American]

9. It’s composed of 73% water

The brain is 73 percent water. It only takes 2 percent dehydration to affect your attention and memory. [Daily Mail]

10. Sweating can temporarily shrink the brain

An hour and a half of sweating can temporarily shrink brain size as much as one year of aging does. [Daily Mail]

11. Five minutes without oxygen can cause brain damage

Five minutes without oxygen can lead to brain cells dying, which causes brain damage. [Medical Daily]

12. It generates 12-15 watts of electricity

The brain generates between 12 and 25 watts of electricity—that’s enough to power a low wattage light bulb! [National Geographic]

13. Neurons travel 150 mph in the brain

Neurons travel 150 mph in the brain. Different types of neurons move at different speeds - for example, pain signals move much slower than other ones. [National Geographic]

14. Those who take a quiz twice are 65% more likely to remember the facts

Those who take a quiz after its revision are 65 percent more likely to remember the facts. [BBC]

15. Learning new things increases gray matter in the brain

When we learn something new, our brain forms new connections between neurons; this then increases visible gray matter in the brain. [BBC]

16. Memory is prioritized by emotion

Memory is prioritized by emotion. But this also means that a lot of our “memories” are unintended flawed fiction. [New Yorker]

17. Emotions can alter our brain chemistry

Similarly to the above fact, emotions drastically alter our brains. The chemical reactions stirred by feelings can be physically seen in brain scans and studies of gray matter. [Huffington Post]

18. It has an average of 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day

The average brain has between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day. Upsettingly, the majority (an estimated 60-70 percent) of the thoughts are negative. [Huffington Post]

19. More than 100,000 chemical reactions take place in the brain every second

With roughly 100 billion brain cells, more than 100,000 chemical reactions take place in the brain every second. [National Geographic]

20. When intoxicated, it can’t form memories

When intoxicated, the brain is incapable of forming memories. So no, you didn’t “forget” what happened last night. The memory simply was never formed. [Daily Mail]

21. Practicing recollection can help PTSD

Practicing recollection can help aid PTSD. There are a variety of psychological treatment methods that mental health care providers use to help those suffering from PTSD safely confront and cope with traumatic experiences. [Smithsonian]

22. Its texture and consistency is comparable to tofu

The texture and consistency of the human brain is comparable to tofu. This isn’t too surprising, given that it’s made up primarily of gray and white matter, as well as water. [National Geographic]

23. It starts slowing at around 24 years old

Research shows that the cognitive speed of your brain starts slowing down when you're around 24 years old. [Time]

24. 95% of all decisions are subconscious

95 percent of all decisions take place in the subconscious mind. This means that the vast majority of our actions and behaviors occur due to brain activity that lies beyond our conscious awareness. [Science Daily]

25. The brain itself cannot feel pain

Although pain is processed in the brain, the organ itself cannot feel pain. This is why brain surgeries can occur while a patient is awake, without discomfort. [Time]

The list goes on and on. As more research is conducted, and we learn more about the human brain’s capabilities, we also learn how to keep our minds sharp. Find out how we recall memories and how the brain changes when you learn.

As good as the brain is at turning short-term memories into long-term ones, it’s still important to keep those memories preserved for future generations. That’s why Legacybox helps you to digitize your memories - whether you have tapes, film, photos, or audio recordings, we’re here to help.

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