What does a good memory mean about the brain?

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I know the human brain contains 100 billion neurons with billions of connections. I have a VERY good memory. I remember little details from years ago like conversations and feelings around certain events. Basically my mind remembers how my younger mind felt years ago. Now, I scored relatively high on my IQ test and I was always a great writer. That being said, my memory is phenomenal. What does that mean? Some people have horrible memories. Do I have more neurons than the average brain?
My question on neurons and memory.
 

Drakkith

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As far as I know, there's no way to tell whether you have more neurons or not except by comparing your brain mass to the average. The brain is an incredibly complex organ and we still lack a comprehensive understanding of how things like memory work. The sheer number of neurons is more related to body size than to anything else, as it takes more neurons to run a larger body. Hence why intelligence is only weakly correlated with brain mass in humans, if at all.
 

Spinnor

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Interesting question. Can you study and remember long strings of numbers like pi?

It appears there are different types of exceptional memory each with drawbacks!, see,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exceptional_memory from,


It is interesting that for each type of exceptional memory there are drawbacks so we lesser beings can take some comfort in not having exceptional memory.

With my poor memory I get to watch and enjoy good movies over again.
 

pinball1970

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Summary: I know the human brain contains 100 billion neurons with billions of connections. I have a VERY good memory. I remember little details from years ago like conversations and feelings around certain events. Basically my mind remembers how my younger mind felt years ago. Now, I scored relatively high on my IQ test and I was always a great writer. That being said, my memory is phenomenal. What does that mean? Some people have horrible memories. Do I have more neurons than the average brain?

My question on neurons and memory.
I think memory is a good indicator myself but its only one parameter.



Regarding actual mass/neurons, there is an interesting story regarding Einstein’s brain.



From memory Einstein had an average sized brain when he died (full link below)



https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/phenomena/2014/04/21/the-tragic-story-of-how-einsteins-brain-was-stolen-and-wasnt-even-special/



If you have a good memory this is useful for exams and applying acquired knowledge for problem solving, providing you know which knowledge to call upon!
 
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Interesting question. Can you study and remember long strings of numbers like pi?

It appears there are different types of exceptional memory each with drawbacks!, see,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exceptional_memory from,


It is interesting that for each type of exceptional memory there are drawbacks so we lesser beings can take some comfort in not having exceptional memory.

With my poor memory I get to watch and enjoy good movies over again.
Never tried to recite pi. 3.14 is good enough for me.

My original phone number (the landline) and my original home address I remember even after 10 years.
 

Drakkith

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My original phone number (the landline) and my original home address I remember even after 10 years.
I remember my childhood address from 25 years ago. But I don't have a good memory. Mine is fairly abysmal.
 
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I remember my childhood address from 25 years ago. But I don't have a good memory. Mine is fairly abysmal.
But why? My brain is no more better than yours. Both of us (I presume you as well) aren’t geniuses. Is my memory capacity larger than yours or is my method of retrieval better?
 

Drakkith

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But why? My brain is no more better than yours. Both of us (I presume you as well) aren’t geniuses. Is my memory capacity larger than yours or is my method of retrieval better?
No idea. Like I said, there are many, many things we don't yet know about the brain and how it works.
 

symbolipoint

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Spinnor commented:
With my poor memory I get to watch and enjoy good movies over again.
Aside from good or bad memory, comments like that are a strong sign of intelligence.
 
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Spinnor

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A physics theory of everything, TEO, or a complete understanding of the human body, which comes first? My bet is with a physics TEO.

I guess you could put our genetic code on a T-shirt if you printed really small?
 

256bits

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All I know is that I used my last 10$ cash, so I went to the bank ATM to withdraw.
Wouldn't you know it.
The PIN number for the bank card that I use everyday became non-existent in may brain.
Several finger patterns did not retrieve the pin .

On top of that, the brain cell that died took a few other brothers with it, as I also could not remember the code for company door access.

What really bothers me though is this.
What else have I suddenly forgotten ( during this episode, or maybe others that I have forgotten about )
And I know I will never ever know what I may have forgot until I need to remember it, if in fact I do remember that I used to know that fact unless of course I forget that I did know that fact.
A case of what you don't know what you don't know.
 

pinball1970

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A physics theory of everything, TEO, or a complete understanding of the human body, which comes first? My bet is with a physics TEO.
3 billion base pairs would require a very small font.
I guess you could put our genetic code on a T-shirt if you printed really small?
That also explains the origin of the universe? That will be cool as hell, I just I have read enough pop Science to understand the answer when it comes...
On topic though, the best description of the brain I have read is this.

(Para) 'the human brain is the universe acquiring consciousness.'

I would have only added, 'But this is the only example that we know of.'
 

jim mcnamara

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There is no good current link I can find except to a very popular science "article" on Netflix,
"Explained: memory"
Which I recommend if you can access it. And I realize this is unfairly limiting, but it is what I have as an overview. And most good references are behind paywalls.

A lot of the comments so far lack sources, and tend to be anecdotal - which, after looking at research and reviewing the Netflix documentary, I can see why. For example: The equivalent of Scientific American for this field is, IMO, Psychology Today:
You judge.

Points:
1. Memory is a series of somewhat interconnected brain areas. It does does not work the way we think. Nor is it more accurate or substantially better among individual normally healthy people. People with demonstrably better memories got there by learning how to exploit built-in traits with techniques like the "memory palace".
Google for "NIH memory training".

2. Evolution drove memory usage as more of a tool to predict the future (using experience, i.e., bits of memory) than recalling events. This facilitated planning and cooperation:

Evolution of declarative memory
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hipo.20205 -- note this is the journal "Hippocampus"
and so is focused on this one area of the brain that stores, references, and assembles memories

3. Laboratory interview results with large numbers of eye witnesses indicates that even people with good memories have an accuracy rate well below 50%. Recall is embedded in disparate areas of the brain, and so reconstruction of memories on demand is solidly less wonderful than we personally believe. Lots of spurious images and emotions show up.

So the OP's point of having a good memory is related to the fact s/he likely learned memory techniques early on. For all normal brains, most memories are a lot more incorrect than the person making the claims of accuracy deeply believes. See abstract:

Repeated recall, retention interval, and the accuracy–confidence relation in eyewitness memory
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/acp.1263
 
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I’ve had ADD and a very bad memory since childhood. My doctor once explained to me, “You’ve got so much water going under the bridge that you don’t focus on anything long enough to remember it.” I often can’t remember what the sentence is about halfway through speaking it.

Pertinent?: My IQ was measured as 145 or 98th percentile.

I’ve always assumed that each of us has a different attention span and that those with better memories simply have longer attention spans meaning lower ADD.
 
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"I can't forget but I don't remember what" xhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgJt2M7t2CE
I added the 'x' because I am unsure of the song being appropriate, it definitely concerns memory.

I lived my life with a photographic memory, great visuals but mediocre in sound recollection. An attention trick from my youth was having someone read a line from a book I had read years previous and I would give the next line.
It fades, late forties when first noticed and now in my later sixties it is quite diminished but still better than average.
Taking my autism into account the major shortage in social ability is balanced by the pattern recognition and memory.
A brain is a brain, different folks use different parts. Certainly in my case it is not smarts that define me but an ability to visualize complex interactions. Smart would be choosing relevant interactions to visualize or choosing a stable lifestyle. That is not the case.
 

symbolipoint

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Torbert, aside from your post, the address does not show up as a hyperlink. Not a real problem, since copy & paste or just highlight & rightclick.
 

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