Think you’ve got a terrible memory? You don’t know the half of it

TED Blog

TriQA_Blog In this far-ranging chat, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus spoke with MIT neuroscientists Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu about the future of memory manipulation.

Last year, MIT neuroscientists Xu Liu and Steve Ramirez manipulated the memory of a mouse. In a fascinating and mildly troubling breakthrough caused by a laser and the protein channelrhodopsin, they “activated” fear memories in a mouse. The impetus, says Ramirez, was the awful feeling of a break-up, the desire, Eternal Sunshine-style, to erase the bad associations with his ex. Says Ramirez, “I realized, maybe that’s a little bit lofty for now. So what if we could start off by going into the brain of a mouse and just find a single memory to begin with? Could we jump-start that memory back to life, maybe even play with the contents of that memory?”

Well, as psychologist and criminologist Elizabeth Loftus knows, humans already have extremely faulty memories…

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Author: Shane O'Mara

Neuroscientist