Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 3
taniwha

Scientists reverse bad memories

10 posts in this topic

Traumatic memories could be switched into pleasant recollections with a flash of light, scientists claim.

Doctors may one day be able to use a new technique to treat soldiers with post-traumatic stress or patients with debilitating phobias.

The method, which has been shown to work in mice, promises the ability to alter memory - a concept that so far has only been the stuff of science-fiction movies.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11315634

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds good initially, but on thinking a bit about it I have many concerns.

Don't bad memories serve a purpose? Not repeating a behavior, not associating with someone. Developing knowledge that keeps us safe in the future?

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could it be used as an alternative to pain relief drugs I wonder, or even as a way of getting ' high'?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this raises so many questions on other applications and ethics and what not :wacko:

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds good initially, but on thinking a bit about it I have many concerns.

Don't bad memories serve a purpose? Not repeating a behavior, not associating with someone. Developing knowledge that keeps us safe in the future?

Apparently they "alter" the memories into pleasant associations with a flash of light. It could cut both ways:

The pros: an unpleasant memory could be revered for the lesson it imparted and make a person feel more empowered by their knowledge. eg: I was king hit in brawl but I had the strength to overcome that and it taught me how to recognize threatening behaviour in others, I am no longer as likely to be in a situation where I am an unwitting victim of others violence.

The cons: we forget to fear the unpleasant and think ourselves invincible in extreme circumstances when physically, we actually are not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am the person I am today due to my personal experiences both good and bad. I'll opt to keep all my memories as they are essentially *me* and I'm ok with being *me*.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious what the limitations of this are. Like if you watch you whole family die in a crash can they somehow reverse that to be positive? Or is there a limit depending on the strength of the memory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious what the limitations of this are. Like if you watch you whole family die in a crash can they somehow reverse that to be positive? Or is there a limit depending on the strength of the memory

Yes i think it is that simple, a memory can be switched off, replaced or decreased in significance using varying wavelengths of light.

If i understand correctly this type of light stimulation can be specifically targeted to prompt a positive electrical impulse in neurons that have been encoded with genetic implants; in effect it can artificially manipulate the mind.

So far i think only monkeys and mice are the test subjects, but its only a matter of time before humans are next.

This particular field of neuroscience, known as optogenetics, originated in 2004. Watch this brief graphic from MIT here.

http://video.mit.edu/watch/optogenetics-controlling-the-brain-with-light-7659/

Might there be creepy side effects? Could it also be used for bad? Maybe mass indoctrination? torture? Might we be able to live on after death by replacing our 'selves' inside an unwitting hosts mind like a memory parasite? Oouch!

But in reality, I found this interview with Dr Ed Boyden of MIT...

...What specifically is your group working on?

About a third of the group works on technologies from mapping the brain, about a third for recording from the brain and a third for controlling the brain. We work backwards from the physical principles of the brain, survey all the laws of physics and chemistry and engineering and so on and then synthesize those fields in order to develop ways to map and control and record things. We have more than 40 full-time people and about a dozen undergrads and volunteers. We collaborate people in hundreds of different groups all over the world on active technology involving projects. .... Read the rest here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshwolfe/2014/08/29/controlling-the-brain-with-light/

Edited by taniwha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This reminds me of the movie, 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. Positively altering memories of severe trauma could really help change some people's lives for the better.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It doesn't sound healthy or pleasant to zap memories with light, even bad ones. Memories that are so bad they can be traumatic can be dealt with a different way, not by attacking it as this could harm the brain. That's like a punishment. The light flash could create some damage to the person suffering bad memories that they'll be too scared to think of anything in case the lights will come again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 3

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.