Let me preface this by saying I'm as skeptical as anyone about equating neural structures with traditional computing hardware (e.g. 'how many MBs is long term memory?'), but episodic memories seems like one place where talking about storage capability seems warranted, since episodes are quite discrete.

I've heard discussion about the hippocampus being able to store all of the relevant events for the past 10 years, and that it slowly transfers its knowledge to the cortex, which has a much higher capacity. But how many separately encoded events can it hold? I know it uses a sparse coding scheme to keep related memories separate, so it should be possible to infer capacity from the size of the neural populations involved and the average activity. Has someone looked into this before?

  • $\begingroup$ But what is the size of each event? Brain does not store raw data. An observant person will be able to absorb more info from a view, but that does not mean he/she will be able to store less visual memory in the hippocampus than an average person. Brain goes through neurogenesis when it gets excited, and an observant person will likely have more neurons to carry more info. $\endgroup$
    – Spero
    Oct 16, 2016 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ interesting question, you should bump/edit it ;-) $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2019 at 23:07


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