Total Recall: Pushing the Limits of Memory

A new MIT study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, had an interesting objective: find out how much people can actually remember.

Using matched pairs of images, subjects reviewed up to 3,000 pictures over a matter of hours and were asked to identify the images they had seen earlier, with a variable sequence of mediating images they had not seen, activated by the spacebar.

While there were only 14 subjects, recall was up to 92% in some cases - suggesting that the human brain is capable of scanning, storing, and retrieving gigabytes of relational information - at least in the short term, as a form of in-resident or cached memory.

It would be fascinating to see if the relationships became distorted over time, allowing us to plot both the decay rate and obfuscation of data transfered from the cache to long term storage, answering the question of 'How reliable is memory?'

Also, finding out if the intensive exercise improved retention, which we suspect would be the case, turning back the clock on memory degradation.

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