DailyDirt: Memories Are Not As Reliable As They Used To Be
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Normally, when we remember something, we can estimate how reliable our memory is -- but not always. Sometimes it's hard to know if a particular memory is actually true. Our brains can forget details and fabricate things to fill in the gaps. More and more psychological studies seem to suggest that our memories are far more flexible than we might like them to be. Implanting fake memories isn't as hard as it sounds, and in the future, the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind might seem less far-fetched. Here are just a few things you might want to remember about remembering.
- The Tet1 gene has been found to be critical to the process of "memory extinction" which allows older memories to fade. If this gene can be controlled, there could be gene therapies for dealing with traumatic memories (or other situations where enhanced memory extinction would be desired). [url]
- Most people generally believe that traumatic experiences are especially unforgettable and memories formed under duress are the most accurate memories -- but most people are wrong. Memories -- even traumatic memories -- can be manipulated, and hundreds of studies involving thousands of subjects show that all kinds of memories can change and be mis-remembered. [url]
- Drug addicts could someday be treated with a kind of memory manipulation. A study of former heroin users re-trained these addicts to "forget" various cues that might trigger cravings for heroin, and the positive results could potentially be applied to other addictions. [url]