Dec 13, 2013
False Memory Phenomenon Demonstrated in Mice
Posted on Jul 26, 2013
Scientists believe they caught a glimpse of the process of false memory creation by manipulating laboratory mice to “remember” an experience that never happened.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientist Susumu Tonagawa used a technique that allows for the fine control of individual brain cells to make mice associate or “remember” an electric shock received in one environment with the surroundings of another location.
Memory experts know that human recall of past events is notoriously limited and thus unreliable and even dangerous in cases where witnesses are making statements in courts of law. Juries have convicted defendants based on eyewitness testimonies that turned out to be proved false once DNA or some other corroborating evidence was brought forward.
Chris French, head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London and a leading researcher in false memories in humans, said the latest results were an important first step in understanding the neural basis of false memories.
“Memory researchers have always recognised that memory does not, as is often assumed, work like a video camera, faithfully recording all of the details of anything we experience,” he told The Guardian. “Instead, it is a reconstructive process which involves building a specific memory from fragments of real memory traces of the original event but also possibly including information from other sources.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Previous item: Bradley Manning: Whistle-Blower or Attention Whore?
Next item: Lincoln Memorial Closed After Paint Attack
New and Improved Comments