Scientists plant false memories in brain

A team of neuroscientists in the United States after controlling memory function in the mice’s brains has successfully implanted false memories into them.

The study carried out by the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was done by applying a technique called optogenetics.

The technique that enabled scientists to control memory function in the animalâ„¢s brain, allows cells to be selectively turned on or off using light, according to study published in the journal Science.

At the early steps of the experiments, the miceâ„¢s DNA was altered to include a light-sensitive protein that activates when the animal form new memories, researchers clarified.

They were then able to control the mice’s memory function in the hippocampus area of the brain by exposing them to flashes of light (optogenetics).

In next step, researchers became able to plant faulty memories in the brains of mice, as the animals were placed in a chamber where they received a mild electrical shock, causing them to form negative memories about the room.

They also discovered that many of the neurological traces of the planted memories are identical in nature in comparing to those of authentic ones.

“Humans are highly imaginative animals. Just like our mice, an aversive or appetitive event could be associated with a past experience one may happen to have in mind at that moment, hence a false memory is formed,” said the senior author of the paper Susumu Tonegawa, professor of Biology and Neuroscience at MIT,

Many of neuroscientists believe that recent findings shed light on how false memories form in human brains, and could one day be used to treat psychological problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.

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Republished from: Press TV