Of all the mental faculties of humans, the faculty of memory has been the most mysterious from times immemorial. Most of us think that if a person is born with a good memory, he is lucky. We tend to categorize people into two segments – those with a good memory and those with a poor memory.

We believe that a person having a poor memory is cursed for a life time and no matter what he does, there is no way of improving one’s memory capacity. A very small percentage of world population has a fairly good knowledge of how memory works, why most often our memory fails us and how, at times, we can remember certain things so well.

Interestingly, any two individuals on this planet have exactly the same capacity for memory. This may sound incredible, as it is in opposition with our daily experience of witnessing people with varying levels of memory.

If we really get into the basics, every human being has exactly the same mass in the brain. If we take a look into the basic units or the building blocks of the brain – the brain cells or the neurons – any two brains contain approximately the same number of them. It is estimated that every human brain consists of billions of neurons.

Each neuron is capable of making millions of connections with other neurons. All the possible interneuron connections run into several trillions. Coming to the number of inter-neuron connections, the more the merrier. The reason being, the more connections you have, the more is the “processing speed” of the brain. Viewed in this perspective, the memory capacity one can summon from the brain is awesome.

There is absolutely no reason why any individual has to suffer from a poor memory. The individual differences in respect of memory capacities, which we perceive are just the differences in the utilization levels and not those of built-in capacity.

The situation may be likened with two manufacturing units with exactly the same installed capacities. One of them may be fully harnessing its potential and deriving maximum potential. The other might have been ridden with several problems and hence is performing far below the actual capacity.

The point is any two individuals in this world have the same built-in capacity of memory. But how much positive result they take out of it, actually depends on how they utilize the innate potential.

Good memory Vs. Bad memory

If that be the case, then, how do you explain the unmistakable experience of witnessing some people having good memory and some other people having bad memory? In fact, there is nothing like a good memory or a bad memory. Every person has good memory in some areas and also bad memory in certain other areas.

For example, a student may find it too difficult for him to remember the Newton’s laws of Motion. The same student may have an excellent memory for facts and figures on Tennis. People around us tend to brand us as a person with a good memory or otherwise, depending on whether they attach importance to what we remember or what we forget.