False but happy memory implanted in sleeping mice – Rodent recall

A study has shown it is possible to manipulate and create false, happy memories in mice during sleep.

photo:  Chris Warbey via Guardian newspaper

This is really interesting – animals, including humans, have a map of neurons that represent “place”.  By figuring out which neuron represented which place in a mouses brain, scientists attached an electrode to this single specific “place” neuron, and another in the reward center of the brain:

Scientists have succeeded in creating false but happy memories in mice, in the first demonstration of memory manipulation during sleep.

In the study, positive feelings about a particular place were artificially written into the animal’s memory, which caused them to seek out that place in search of a reward when they woke up.

The discovery that emotional memory can be readily manipulated has echoes of the the film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which Jim Carey’s character has every recollection about his failed relationship wiped clean using a fictional mind-reading technology.

The scientists say that the findings could pave the way for new treatments that would allow patients to overcome depression or deeply entrenched painful memories.


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