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Science

Researchers Implant False Memories In Mice 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the remember-this dept.
sciencehabit writes "Call it 'Total Recall' for mice. A group of neuroscientists say that they've identified a potential mechanism of false memory creation and have planted such a memory in the brain of a mouse. With this knowledge, neuroscientists can start to figure out how many neurons it takes to give us the perception of what's around us and what goes on in our neural wiring when we remember—or misremember—the past."
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Researchers Implant False Memories In Mice

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  • by NoMoreMrNiceGuy2 (2989999) on Friday July 26, 2013 @05:29AM (#44389329)
    I know kung fu.
  • No they didn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @05:42AM (#44389373)

    They hijacked the mouse's senses to perceive the room as a different one while being shocked, causing the mouse to be afraid of the wrong room. Interesting, but not a false memory.

    • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DaemonDan (2773445) <dan@demonarchives.com> on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:38AM (#44389701) Homepage
      Agreed. I'm not convinced they didn't just condition the mouse to fear that room by forcing an association of that room and pain, similar to me showing you a picture of Beiber and hitting you with a stick until every time you see a picture of him you cringe (maybe that's a bad example).

      Regardless, it is pretty interesting that they could pin-point the precise location where the memory of the room was stored and force that negative association at the neuronal level. Not quite an implanted memory, but still cool.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There was a third room where the fear reaction did not take place.

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        Now I know why I scream every time I hear The Beeb.

      • Did you read article to which the (poor and short) summary links? The whole point is that they create a fear response in a situation where there previously wasn't one. In other words, they control for the concern you raise and it's a non-issue. I know there are some crappy papers in Science, but concerns as glaring as the one you cite are going to be controlled for. In this case there is a third context.
      • They just have a false memory of doing so, implanted by the mice who weren't too thrilled about going through the shock.

  • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Friday July 26, 2013 @06:11AM (#44389433)
    "you are a chicken, you were born a chicken, and when you were but a little chick you watched a big spider with an orange body and green legs. You watched her build her web, then one day there's a big egg in it. The egg hatched and a hundred baby spiders came out... and you ate them all."
  • The egg hatched... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 26, 2013 @06:17AM (#44389449)

    Deckard: Remember when you were six? You and your brother snuck into an empty building through a basement window. You were going to play doctor. He showed you his, but when it got to be your turn you chickened and ran; you remember that? You ever tell anybody that? Your mother, Tyrell, anybody? Remember the spider that lived outside your window? Orange body, green legs. Watched her build a web all summer, then one day there's a big egg in it. The egg hatched...
    Rachael: The egg hatched...
    Deckard: Yeah...
    Rachael: ...and a hundred baby spiders came out... and they ate her.

  • HHGTG (Score:5, Funny)

    by rossdee (243626) on Friday July 26, 2013 @06:17AM (#44389453)

    So the mice thought they were supervising a computer program to find the ultimate question of Life the Universe and Everything

  • by Vandil X (636030) on Friday July 26, 2013 @06:22AM (#44389461)
    Well, so restarts the philosophical arguments raised after the original Matrix film came out. You "know" only what your sensory inputs tell you! Is your sensors are being spoofed, may it be a nice steak.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I don't care about philosophy. I just wanna learn Kung Fu.
      • by jd2112 (1535857)

        I don't care about philosophy. I just wanna learn Kung Fu.

        Traditionally Kung Fu is is at least as much about philosophy as martial arts.

    • by Threni (635302)

      Er...I think those arguments predate that movie. If we have to limit ourselves to movies any self-respecting nerd would be quoting Dark Star...

      • by N0Man74 (1620447)

        Er...I think those arguments predate that movie. If we have to limit ourselves to movies any self-respecting nerd would be quoting Dark Star...

        Speaking of Star Wars... I haven't read the article, but I assume that they implanted the false memories that the Star Wars had "Episode IV: A New Hope" in the opening of the original release?

        This experiment has already been performed rather successfully on nerds, so mice seem like a natural next step.

    • Oh, philosophers have been bantering about this ever since the first one got his PhD and was unemployed for the rest of his life, and had nothing else better to do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat [wikipedia.org]

      In philosophy, the brain in a vat is an element used in a variety of thought experiments intended to draw out certain features of our ideas of knowledge, reality, truth, mind, and meaning. It is based on an idea, common to many science fiction stories, that a mad scientist, machine, or other entity might remove a person's brain from the body, suspend it in a vat of life-sustaining liquid, and connect its neurons by wires to a supercomputer which would provide it with electrical impulses identical to those the brain normally receives. According to such stories, the computer would then be simulating reality (including appropriate responses to the brain's own output) and the person with the "disembodied" brain would continue to have perfectly normal conscious experiences without these being related to objects or events in the real world.

      The brain in a vat is a contemporary version of the argument given in Hindu Maya illusion, Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Zhuangzi's "Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly", and the evil demon in René Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy.

      • by ArcadeX (866171)
        Am I the only one that now has the urge to go back and watch Robocop 2?
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      The argument pre-dates that movie by hundreds of years. Descartes first suggested it, although originally instead of robots he had an "evil demon" of course. That's where is famous quote "I think, therefore I am" comes from - everything you perceive may be a lie created by the evil demon to fool you, but the one thing you can be certain of is that since you are having that thought your mind must itself exist.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I remember reading about this technique as a way to make people forget about the horrible events that took place while Bill Gates was president by pretending that Clinton had a second term. Supposedly they'd even found a way to make the Windows login screen embed those memories with those `hidden moire flux' patterns. Oddly enough they've actually kept their word on keeping both the presidency and the moire patterns off of Wikipedia, but I doubt that anyone has forgotten...

    I mean... just the look on the S

  • Rekall rekall rekall!

  • by Maintenance Goof (1487053) on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:00AM (#44389597)
    Have any of you seen a fellow named Kuato around here?
  • by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:11AM (#44389641) Homepage

    I could have sworn that I already posted a clever reply to this story.

  • except mars would be a chocolate bar

  • The NSA are going to love this! Or maybe they already know how to do it and John Pointdexter and Oliver North really meant it when they kept saying "I have no clear recollection of that." at the Iran Contra [wikipedia.org] trial.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this the mainly plot behind Pinky & the Brain?

    I for one welcome our new mouse, memory implanted overlords.

  • Now when they can explain the mechanism for the occurance of false memories without having to put electrodes in one's brain that will be real news.

  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Friday July 26, 2013 @07:52AM (#44389749) Homepage Journal

    I remember seeing this story before.

  • Big deal. Politicians have been using this to the voters in order to get re-elected for decades. How else can some of them be doing it?

  • corrected subtitle.

  • I think those arguments predate that movie. If we have to limit ourselves to movies any self-respecting nerd would be quoting Dark Star Yein Group Properties http://www.yegingroup.com/ [yegingroup.com]
  • by dgr73 (1055610)
    didn't I already read this bit of news about humans?
  • When we can fully manipulate the minds of human beings, they'll be able to turn all you atheists into jug-band playing, television contribution pandering, Bible thumping fundamentalist Christians.

    And the best part is you won't even remember you were atheists. Shit, we could have 100% church attendance in five years.

    Ain't science a bitch?

    By the way, this story is a load of shit. They didn't "implant" memories. They tried to activate memories previously memorized, and they ended up with only circumstantial

  • If memories can be implanted from outside, then education can be delivered this way, and the services of unionized teachers will no longer be necessary...watch for them to oppose this research and make several ad-hominem attacks on it.

    • by Zordak (123132)

      If memories can be implanted from outside, then education can be delivered this way, and the services of unionized teachers will no longer be necessary...watch for them to oppose this research and make several ad-hominem attacks on it.

      Unionized teachers, no. But there will always be room for real teachers who do something more than raw data transfer.

  • So THAT'S who moved my cheese!
  • Actually methods provided strongly resembles same that are used in NLP. Watch some of Darren Brown's shows and you'll see. :D For ex. look at one of the methods used - anchoring (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methods_of_neuro-linguistic_programming#Techniques)

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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