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21 Eye-Opening Statistics About the Human Brain

By Danesh Ramuthi, Jan 16, 2024

human brain statistics

The human brain, an enigma at the core of our existence, never ceases to amaze. 

It’s the powerhouse behind every thought, emotion, and memory we have. 

But how well do we really know this complex organ? 

In this article, we will look into 21 eye-opening statistics that illuminate the intricacies and wonders of the brain. 

From its monetary worth, the limits of our blinking, to the percentage of information we retain. 

Let’s dive in and explore the marvels of the human brain.

Click to jump ahead:

Key statistics on human brain

  • The cost of a whole human brain can range from about $500 to $10,000, with variations depending on various factors.
  • Ophthalmological research indicates that a typical individual can maintain their eyes open non-stop for a duration of 2 to 10 minutes before the need to blink arises.
  • Individuals retain about 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and a significant 80% of what they see.
  • The human brain is capable of processing 11 million bits of information per second, yet our conscious awareness is limited to managing just 40 to 50 bits of information in that same timeframe.
  • Information on average stays up to 30 seconds in your short term memory

The cost of a whole human brain can range from about $500 to $10,000, with variations depending on factors

While financial valuations of the human brain can range, it’s important to recognize the intrinsic value of the brain, which is immeasurable due to its complexity and the critical functions it performs. 

For instance, the cost of a whole human brain can range from about $500 to $10,000, with variations depending on factors such as whether the brain is intended for medical research or educational purposes. 

The cost can also be influenced by the method and duration of preservation if the brain is to be preserved.(TFFN)

Typical individual can maintain their eyes open non-stop for a duration of 2 to 10 minutes before the need to blink arises

On average, a person can maintain their eyes open for a continuous period ranging from 2 to 10 minutes before needing to blink, as indicated by studies in the field of ophthalmology.

One of the world records for time without blinking is 40 minutes and 59 seconds, achieved by Fergal “Eyesore” Fleming during a staring competition in Australia​​. 

Another remarkable instance is Murauchi from Japan, who set a world record by keeping his eyes open for 1 hour, 17 minutes, and 3 seconds in 2016.(ExactlyHowLong, ChroniclesDengen)

Individuals retain about 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, and a significant 80% of what they see.

Research indicates that individuals typically recall 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see. 

This is attributed to the human brain’s superior ability to process visual information compared to written language.(TD)

The human brain is capable of processing 11 million bits of information per second, yet our conscious awareness is limited to managing just 40 to 50 bits of information in that same timeframe

The human brain is capable of processing 11 million bits of information per second, yet our conscious awareness can only manage about 40 to 50 bits of that information in the same timeframe. 

Therefore, our brains often resort to cognitive shortcuts, which can result in unconscious or implicit biases. These biases significantly impact our perceptions and behaviors towards others.(NPR)

Information on average stays up to 30 seconds in your short term memory

Short-term memory (STM), also known as short-term storage, primary memory, or active memory, refers to the various memory systems responsible for holding small amounts of information (referred to as memory chunks) for a brief duration, typically up to 30 seconds.

Short-term memory is primarily about the brief retention of information, without the active processing or organization of it. 

It’s important to note that while short-term memory is an essential part of cognitive functioning, it has its limitations in both capacity and duration.(NCBI, Arc Duke

The human brain can process visual information in as little as 13 milliseconds

The speed at which the human brain processes visual information is remarkably fast. 

Research conducted by scientists at MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences department has revealed that the human brain can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds. 

This discovery significantly surpasses previous beliefs that visual processing took at least 100 milliseconds. (MIT

The number of repetitions required to remember something varies depending on the complexity of the information, the individual’s familiarity with the subject, and the learning context but remember the Rule of Seven

Studies indicate that on average, a person needs to encounter a message about seven times before remembering it 

A common saying in this context is, “If you’re growing weary of repeating your message, then you’re likely doing it right.” 

Conveying a message seven times doesn’t necessitate repeating it verbally on each occasion (although that can be effective). Instead, you can reinforce the message using a variety of mediums.(Medium, YourThoughtPartner

Most humans can see at a rate of 30 to 60 frames per second under normal conditions.

The human visual system can process 10 to 12 images per second as individual images. When it comes to motion, rates higher than 50 Hz can be processed. 

However, most humans can see at a rate of 30 to 60 frames per second under normal conditions. 

Some tests suggest that humans are capable of perceiving up to 240 frames per second under certain conditions.(Healthline

Humans remember about 20% of what they hear

There are limitations of our memory when it comes to absorbing spoken information. That’s why we remember only about 20% of the information that we hear on average.

Reinforcement and repetition can be important in learning and communication contexts.


There’s a lack of scientific proof supporting the specific percentages often cited for memory recall. Indeed, anyone familiar with research methodologies would understand that results yielding numbers ending in zero or five are generally not credible.(TD)

Brain can identify what it’s looking at in as little as 13 milliseconds

The speed at which the brain processes new information varies depending on the type of information and the individual. 

For certain types of information, like visual stimuli, the brain can process it incredibly quickly. 

Research suggests that the brain can identify what it’s looking at in as little as 13 milliseconds, which is much faster than the blink of an eye.

This rapid processing is essential for our interaction with the environment and for making quick decisions based on visual information.(Science ABC) 

Roughly 65% of people are visual learners

Research indicates that a significant portion of the population are visual learners. Various studies and sources provide estimates that roughly 65% of people are visual learners. 

This means that these individuals tend to retain and understand information better when it is presented in a visual format, such as through images, diagrams, charts, and videos. 

It can be attributed to the brain’s ability to process visual information more rapidly and efficiently compared to text-based information.(Atlassian)

The duration of a blink is typically about 100 milliseconds

The typical duration of a blink is approximately 100 milliseconds.

However, this can vary, with some sources indicating that blinks can last up to 400 milliseconds in certain cases. 

To give you a better idea, a blink of an eye is much quicker than many everyday actions, lasting only a fraction of a second. 

This rapid action is part of the body’s natural mechanisms to clean and lubricate the eyes, among other functions.(Wikipedia

People who are left-brain dominant tend to think more in words. In contrast, those who are right-brain dominant are more inclined to think in images

Research indicates that individuals with left-brain dominance are more inclined to think in words, whereas those with right-brain dominance tend to think more in images. 

This differentiation aligns with the general perceptions of left-brain functions (commonly associated with logical, analytical, and verbal tasks) and right-brain functions (often connected to creative, holistic, and visual tasks). 

However, it’s crucial to recognize that this binary division oversimplifies the brain’s complex information processing capabilities.(ThinkYourFeet, Harvard

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text

Images are generally more effective than text for human comprehension, as reading can be inefficient. 

Our brain perceives words as separate images, which we need to recognize individually. Therefore, the appearance and sequence of letters matter to an extent. 

However, the brain is adept at reading even scrambled words, with the first and last letters of a word being the most crucial, while the order of the middle letters is less significant.(IFVP)

Long-term memory has the capacity to store an unlimited amount of information for an indefinite duration

The capacity of human long-term memory is remarkably vast. While it’s challenging to quantify the exact amount of information the brain can store in long-term memory, various sources provide impressive estimates. 

According to Cross River Therapy, the memory capacity of the human brain is around 2.5 million gigabytes of digital memory, which is equivalent to trillions of bytes of information. 

This immense capacity allows for the storage of a lifetime’s worth of experiences and knowledge.(Irisreading)

On average, a person sees around 10-100 images each day

The quantity of images a person sees daily can vary greatly depending on their lifestyle, but for most individuals, it ranges from 10 to 100 images per day.(PhotoTutorial)

The human brain can process about 400- 800 words per minute

The brain can process words at an impressive rate of 400 to 800 words per minute. This capacity far exceeds the average rate of speech for an American, which is around 125 words per minute. 

The excess processing power of the brain is often used for other tasks like filtering out background noise or even daydreaming, explaining why our minds tend to wander during conversations or speeches. 

This disparity between the brain’s processing speed and the average speaking speed also underscores the brain’s remarkable efficiency and capacity for handling information​.(Neurotray)

The average person today is capable of processing up to 74 gigabytes (GB) of data in a single day


The amount of information an average person processes each day varies, but it’s substantial. According to a study by the University of California–San Diego, the average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data & information every day. 

This volume is equivalent to around 100,000 words heard or read daily, comparable to the word count in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”​.

While we may consume 34 gigabytes of data daily, our brain’s processing capacity is estimated to be capable of handling as much as 74 gigabytes of data each day. 

This suggests that while we are exposed to a large amount of information, our brains have the capacity to process even more, albeit not without potential challenges in attention and focus.(AskWonder)

About 1% of the population might have a form of photographic memory

Research suggests that only about 1% of the population might have a form of eidetic memory. 

However, this ability is more commonly reported in children and tends to decrease or disappear as they grow older. It’s also important to note that the claims of photographic memory in adults are often contested and not universally accepted by researchers. 

For example, some extraordinarily memorable individuals, like Solomon Shereshevsky and Kim Peek, displayed remarkable memory skills, but these were not necessarily linked to eidetic memory and were often highly specialized.(ExploringYourMind) 

People retain about 65% of visual information

The retention of visual information is significantly higher compared to other forms of information like written or spoken data. 

Studies have shown that people retain about 65% of visual information after three days, compared to only 10-20% of written or spoken information. 

This high retention rate of visual information is also supported by the fact that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and around 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. 

Additionally, visuals have been found to improve learning by up to 400%.(MovaBleink, ShifteLearning

Wrapping up

The human brain remains one of the most complex and fascinating organs in the human body. 

The 21 statistics we’ve explored in this article reveal just a fraction of its incredible capabilities and mysteries.

As we continue to look into the brain’s secrets, we unlock potential ways to enhance learning and memory, and even tap into the untapped potential of this extraordinary organ.

The more we learn, the more we realize how much there is yet to discover, making every step in this journey an exciting and eye-opening experience.