Are there any incidents you'd like to forget? Or any memories that are draining you emotionally?
Or what if you could get permanently forget all the bad experiences? Or maybe you can get to create memories of things that have never actually happened in your life span? This might sound like a concept for a science fiction movie but it looks like, our scientists have discovered a way to make all these things a reality.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was released in 2004 and this movie introduced the general audience to the concept of memory erasure. Certainly, we all have things in our past that we might not like to ponder overmuch. There are memories which we would like to forget, be it a bad break-up, loss, traumatic experience or any other such incident that keeps dwelling over our emotional side.
But, now scientists are on the verge to achieve this feat and it looks like they have already summed up the research part. They have discovered that our memories are not really permanent.
There are certain chemicals that have the capability to delete memories or even re-create or re-write stressful or fear forming memories. These chemicals are being tested by the scientists. Traumatic experiences can change the shape of life for a person and some incidents can change the perception and approach of a person towards life.
With this new research, scientists are hoping that they can come with a treatment procedure for people battling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or suffer from addictions.
Scientists have claimed in their research that all of our memories are interlocked in connections with the brain and a new memory is formed when brain cells grow due to protein stimulation and as a result, form new connections. After this, the memory will stay in our brain circuit as long as we occasionally revisit it.
Scientists have explained that our long-term memories are not stable and hence can slightly change sometimes over a period of time. This process is known as reconsolidation. This is an important process as at this point the scientists can hack our memories by stepping in and literally do what we want them to do.
"The research suggests memories can be manipulated because they act as if made from glass, existing in a molten state as they are being created, before turning solid," Richard Gray explains for The Telegraph. "When the memory is recalled, however, it becomes molten again and so can be altered before it once more resets."
A new documentary has been released by The American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) showing how new memories are being created and old ones are getting deleted by manipulating the human mind as per the work was done by a group of scientists.
It is shown in the documentary that people can actually get rid of memories or alter the unpleasant memories or create completely new memories of events that have never occurred in their real life.
"Memory Hackers" is the film released by PBS and according to the Telegraph, Memory Hackers gives us a view about how a human mind can be manipulated for greater benefits of the mankind and the cutting edge research into the nature and processing of memory.
The filmmakers were quoted as saying "For much of human history, memory has been seen as a tape recorder that faithfully registers information and replays it intact. But now, researchers are discovering that memory is far more malleable, always being written and rewritten, not just by us but by others. We are discovering the precise mechanisms that can explain and even control our memories."
Andre Fenton, a prominent neuroscientist said "We understand only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to human memory. For much of human history, memory has been seen as a tape recorder that faithfully registers information and replays it intact."
He further added, "But now, researchers are discovering that memory is far more malleable, always being written and rewritten, not just by us but by others. We are discovering the precise mechanisms that can explain and even control our memories." Dr. Fenton is currently working on a technique to remove traumatic memories.
With this research and the documentary, we can certainly expect more work in the coming future. "Rewriting memories allows you to update them, said Michael Bicks, creator of Memory Hackers. "But the purpose of forgetting is not just so you can clean off the hard drive ... The ability to forget the unpleasant things allows us to create a story about ourselves that we can live with."