I love the blog by the Neurocritic.
In one of the most recent blogs, a new film called Listening is reviewed and well as the concept of how many thoughts we have a day.
I too have always wondered where the 70,000 number comes from.
Here’s what the Neuroocritic has to say on this:
“Well, popular lore says we have 70,000 thoughts per day, which comes out to only 0.8101851851851852 thoughts per second. But this is also absurd, since we haven’t yet defined what a “thought” even is. Interesting factoid: the Laboratory of Neuroimaging (LONI) at UCLA has taken credit for this number. But they did offer some caveats:
*This is still an open question (how many thoughts does the average human brain processes in 1 day). LONI faculty have done some very preliminary studies using undergraduate student volunteers and have estimated that one may expect around 60-70K thoughts per day. These results are not peer-reviewed/published. There is no generally accepted definition of what “thought” is or how it is created. In our study, we had assumed that a “thought” is a sporadic single-idea cognitive concept resulting from the act of thinking, or produced by spontaneous systems-level cognitive brain activations.
theoracleofdelphi-ga had some interesting thoughts on the matter:
So there’s the heart of the problem: No one really knows what the biological basis for a ‘thought’ is, so we can’t compute how fast a brain can produce them. Once you figure out the biological basis for a thought (and return from the Nobel ceremony) you can ask the question again and expect a reasonable scientific answer.
In the mean time, you could probably get a bunch of psychologists to argue about the definition of a thought for a while, and get a varying set of answers that depend highly on the definitions.”
Interesting!!! Can’t wait to see the movie.