Penny For Your Thoughts? Researchers Determine How Much Your Thoughts Are Actually Worth, And Apparently It Isn't All That Much

We've all heard the expression "A penny for your thoughts?" but are your thoughts really only worth a penny? Well, some researchers decided to see how much your thoughts are worth based on the amount of electricity they require from your brain. And the consensus is that, actually, it takes a lot of thoughts to add up to a penny.

According to Osarenkhoe Uwuigbe, a nature science student at the University of Leicester's Centre for Interdisciplinary Science in the UK, thoughts aren't worth as much as you'd think, at least from an electrical standpoint. In fact, based on the amount of energy the brain uses, and the average cost of power in the UK, a penny in the UK is worth three hours, seven minutes, and 30 seconds worth of thoughts.

So, not really all that much then.

The math here is pretty straight forward. The human brain uses about 20 percent of the body's energy, and the average human adult body uses approximately 100 watts worth of energy, meaning the brain uses about 20 watts or 0.02 kilowatts. Since in the UK power companies charge an average of 16 pence per kilowatt hour, that means that one pence can purchase one sixteenth of a kilowatt hour. And if you divide that number by the number of kilowatts the brain uses, you wind up with a total of 3.125 hours.

Of course, since one pence is actually worth about two U.S. cents, meaning the U.S. penny is roughly worth half of a UK penny, that means you'd get one U.S. penny roughly every 1.56 hours. So that's a little better?

On the surface, this seems like pretty surprising news. After all, aren't thinkers and writers and scholars and other people whose job is to share their thoughts with the world usually a little better paid than getting a penny every few hours? But when you think about it, although this study claims to show the amount of money thoughts are worth, it's really showing you the amount that thoughts cost to produce. This study measures how much power your brain needs to make thoughts, and how expensive that power is, but like most products, the sale value is probably much higher than the production cost.

So really, the way to look at is that your thoughts are worth at least one pence for every 3.125 hours, no matter what thoughts they are, even the dumb ones. But your good thoughts are probably worth way more.


Image: Giphy