The topic here is not about psychological mind manipulation executed by persuasive individuals; scientists at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are on their way to use actual science to manipulate memories. Similar ideas are represented in movies like “Inception” and “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” but what was fiction in these movies is beginning to prevail to reality.
As the case with all sciences, memory manipulation has its pros and cons. The pros are promising for cases suffering from post traumatic disorder, depression or other mental health issues. However, humans will have to wait quite a while for treatment of this kind to take place. Experiments have been performed on mice with enlightening results.
It was only last year when MIT researchers became capable of incepting fake memories in mice. The MIT researches used optogenetics, controlling neuron activity with light, and visually tagged mice brain cells that are connected to particular memories.
Using this procedure, the researchers were able to make a male mouse remember being encircled by female mice and he suddenly liked a location that he used to detest. On the other hand, inducing the memory of electrical shocking makes mice avoid locations they used to prefer.
What makes memory manipulation possible is the discovery of the neural link between emotional response and remembrance. The remembrance part associated with a memory is reserved in the hippocampus
, while he emotional parts are stored in the amygdale.
Researchers now know the exact location where the link between the two parts reside in the brain. Therefore, influencing memory became more facile. Steve Ramirez, one of the researchers, mentioned in a TED talk that we are about to see a world where reactivation of any kind of memory and deletion of unwanted memory is possible. Imagine the amount of potential we can benefit from because of this research.