There are 10 digits and 26 letters. In computer science you'd need 4 bits to store a digit value and 5 bits do store a letter value.

Does the same apply to human brain? Is a statistical person able to remember more digits than letters, or is there no difference? Or maybe it varies from person to person?

  • $\begingroup$ I googled for some research on this, but apparently I wasn't using a correct keyphrase as I didn't find anything relevant $\endgroup$
    – Dariusz
    Aug 27, 2015 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


I am not sure I completely understood your question but I will try to answer it. Different numbers and different letters can be easier or harder to remember based on the order, meaning that, depending on their sequence, it can be either way. Ex. a r d q is easier to remember than 9 4 6 0 but z n k r is harder to remeber than 9 8 3 0. This is because the letters are used in the English language in a way that allows you to make them into a certain sound but only if you have the right letters.

I hope that was helpful (even though it has been almost two years),

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hi Anonymous. Welcome at CogSci and thank you for your answer. We do expect scientific references to claims made in answers. Do you have any so that others can verify and read upon the subject? $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2017 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ Not a good answer, but a very good comment: Contrary to the assertion in the question, computers typically do not require less memory for digits than letters, since compression algorithms work much better on text! The same is true of humans: If the letter sequence is random then it might be easier to remember digits, but natural language text is far easier to remember in long sequences. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Apr 11, 2017 at 3:32

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