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What does "Brain Dump" Mean?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 16, 2024
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A brain dump, often called a braindump, is a collection of information about a certain topic. This information may be written down, told out loud or stored as electronic media. Though e-mails and blogs may be called brain dumps, the term it is most often associated with illegal sites that contain specific information on information technology (IT) certification tests.

The most common use of the term brain dump is to refer to a website that contains a large amount of information about a specific IT certification test. Examples of such tests include A+, Microsoft’s Certified Systems Engineers (MCSE) or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). A website with specific information about one of these certification tests is called a certification brain dump.

Certification brain dump sites are a form of cheating because they include information collected illegally by people who have recently taken the test. Test takers are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, promising that they will not disclose information about specific test questions. A certification brain dump site often includes actual questions that were on the test as well as information about the topics covered and the number of questions on each topic. Test takers who cheat off of these sites reduce the legitimacy of the test because they study specific questions and may not have much knowledge in the field outside these specifics. For this reason, companies that handle certification tests devote considerable resources to shutting these sites down.

Any collection of electronic information may be called a brain dump. A stream of consciousness e-mail or blog post is commonly referred to by this name because the writer of one of these is said to unload, or dump, the contents of his or her brain. These emails and posts are usually left unedited, and a rambling e-mail, website or blog that attempts to answer a question with an abundance of information, but not necessarily a lot of organization may also be called a brain dump.

Brain dump can also refer to the act of depositing the all information stored in a person’s brain onto a computer. This is not possible, as there is no interface that allows a computer to read a person’s thoughts. The human brain can also store far more information than even the most sophisticated of computers. Despite the implausibility of this concept, some future theorists believe it may one day be possible to “download” a human brain onto a computer.

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Discussion Comments
By Scrbblchick — On Mar 27, 2014

Now, wouldn't the ability to do a "brain dump" on a computer be an interesting concept? Think of the possibilities for people with various kinds of dementia. When they forget something, you could just "reboot" their brains with the missing information. Talk about science fiction!

Of course, that has its dangers, as well. Who wants some thoughts stored on a hard drive where anyone could access them? Down that path definitely lies destruction. Still, it's a fascinating thought.

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