Our brain is an intelligent machine, with or without coffee adding some octane. These facts could help you impress fellow brainiacs…or at least give you some cred at a neuroscience convention. Which one is the most surprising?
1. Our brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity. This is enough to power a low wattage LED light bulb.
2. It’s scientifically proven that even a small dose of power changes how a person’s brain operates and diminishes empathy.
3. In raw data, our brains can compute 10 to the 13th and 10 to the 16th operations per second. This would be equal to more than one million times the people that there are on Earth. In essence and in theory, the human brain is capable of solving and computing problems much quicker than a computer.
4. The slowest speed information passes around your brain is approximately 260 MPH.
6. Frequent jet lag can damage memory. Stress hormones released during jet lag can damage the temporal lobe and memory.
7. It’s no accident that telephone numbers in the United States are seven digits long. Our working memory, a very short-term form of memory which stores ideas just long enough for us to understand them, can hold on average a maximum of seven digits. This allows you to look up a phone number and remember it just long enough to dial.
8. Multitasking is actually impossible. When we think we’re multitasking, we’re actually context-switching. That is, we’re quickly switching back-and-forth between different tasks, rather than doing them at the same time. The book Brain Rules explains how detrimental “multitasking” can be: Research shows your error rate goes up 50 percent and it takes you twice as long to do things.
9. Most scientists argue that there is no evidence that playing classical music to babies increases the power of their mind. However, children who learn to play a musical instrument can develop their mental skills further than those who don’t learn a musical instrument.
10. When the mind recalls a memory, it’s not the original memory. In fact, the act of remembering is an act of creative re-imagination. The put-together memory doesn’t just have a few holes; it also has some entirely new bits pasted in.
11. Being able to access information quickly (e.g., on the Internet) makes you less likely to remember it. It’s great being able to access almost any piece of information in a few seconds, and resources such as Google, Wikipedia and YouTube have clearly been major parts of a revolution in how we find information. But studies suggest if the brain knows it can just access it again so easily, it’s less likely to bother remembering the information itself.