Lately in my free time I like to read books, articles etc etc.. What I have discovered, or maybe it is an illusion(lack of concentration or something), is that I usually forget most of the material that I read about, and have lost my ability to remember names of objects, planets or whatever I read about. Does that mean that I am over-reading or that my brain has limited memory/learning capacity? I should also mention that I have an IT job, which you know requires high concentration throughout the day.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This sounds more like a health advice. Please edit your question to clearly outline the scientific premise and add details and examples if needed. $\endgroup$
    Jul 11, 2016 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ this is a much better fit for the psychology.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 26, 2018 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree with @John comment, neuroscience of the memory is one of the areas of biology. $\endgroup$ Aug 26, 2018 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ technically all of psychology falls under biology, but we have a stack devoted to that one subject that will be better able to answer. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Aug 26, 2018 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ The Bekenstein bound limits the amount of information that can be stored in any finite amount of space, so a fortiori your brain does have a limit. Of course, the limit imposed by this bound is vastly higher than the practical limit (if it weren't, our brains would become black holes). $\endgroup$
    – forest
    Feb 17, 2019 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


Short answer is yes, the brain has a limited capacity. It's a large but limited physical system with numerous but countable connection, it follows that it must have a limited capacity.

Learning wise, we usually say we learned something when we can recall it at will. I'm not sure I agree with that definition, but if this were the case, learning would be intimately related with memory capacity, so the answer would also have to be yes.

All this without taking into account energy consumption and metabolism which would impose also further limitations, e.g. I bet you that if you switch the activities around and start reading in the morning and try to work at night your work would suffer but your retention capability would improve (just a guess). Now, is all this relevant? I can't say, we (humans) might be working already at full capacity, in this case it would be relevant, or we could be very far away from this theoretical limit and all this is moot.

If that was really your question then you're done.

However, you seem to be preoccupied with a mismatch between the expectations of your own retrieval abilities after a particular "type" of activity and what you can actually remember.

I would be remiss in I didn't say that I agree with WYSIWYG's comment, I'm sure this is not the place for health advise. So with that in mind my 2c:

your expectations can be misaligned, that's always a possibility; your retrieval abilities can be impaired, which means that you learned fine but cannot recover it; or may favorite: you might just be tired! IANTTOAD


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