How much information from experience does a normal adult remember? The “functional information content” of human memory was estimated in several ways. The methods depend on measured rates of input and loss from very long‐ term memory and on analyses of the informational demands of human memory‐based performance. Estimates ranged around 109 bits. It is speculated that the flexible and creative retrieval of facts by humans is a function of a large ratio of “hardware” capacity to functional storage requirements.
The hypothesis that perceptual mechanisms could have more representational and logical power than usually assumed is interesting and provocative, especially with regard to brain evolution. However, the importance of embodiment and grounding is exaggerated, and the implication that there is no highly abstract representation at all, and that human-like knowledge cannot be learned or represented without human bodies, is very doubtful. A machine-learning model, Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) that closely mimics human word and passage meaning relations is offered as a (...) counterexample. (shrink)
The claim that language is shaped by the brain is weakened by lack of clear specification of what necessary and sufficient properties the brain actually imposes. To account for human intellectual superiority, it is proposed that language did require special brain evolution (Deacon 1997), but that what evolved was a merely quantitative change rather than a radically new invention.