|arya||Date: Saturday, 03-August-2013, 7:55 PM | Message # 1|
|The study also highlights just how inaccurate recollections of the past can occur, an issue that has raised concerns about witness statements in court cases. |
Scientists genetically modified mice so that their brain cells produced a light sensitive chemical when they formed new memories.
This allowed them to use flashes of light to alter the way their brains formed memories, making the mice believe they had an experience they had not.
In the film Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger attempts to have false memories about a holiday to Mars implanted into his brain.
While the research, conducted by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is some way from being able to do this, it helps provide an insight into how false memories can form.
Memories of experiences are encoded in the brain by chemical and physical changes within and between neurons that are associated with objects, space and time.
Professor Susumu Tonegawa, senior researcher and neuroscientist at MIT, said the way real memories and false memories form appear to be the same.
"Whether it's a false or genuine memory, the brain's neural mechanism underlying the recall of the memory is the same," he said.
"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."
The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Science, used a technique known as optogenetics, where a gene for a protein that is sensitive to light is inserted into the DNA of the mice.
This allowed the scientists to turn cells in the hippocampus area of the brain, which is involved in forming memories, on or off by exposing them to light.
Read more/Full article/source - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science....ty.html