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Scientists have implanted fake memories in mice. Now what?

To find out if false memories can be fabricated, American and Japanese researchers set out to do just that — and successfully implanted false memories into lab mice that led the latter to believe they once received electrical shocks in a chamber… when they did not.

As they said in their published report in science journal Science, ‘Memories can be unreliable… our data demonstrate that it is possible to generate an internally represented and behaviorally expressed fear memory via artificial means.’ The team also performed further experiments that showed both true and false memories set off similar molecular reactions, which means false memories may just be tough to distinguish from real ones.

We always knew reality was subjective, but these implications just opened up a giant can of worms for us. As The Killers say: are we human, or are we dancer?

About the author

Low Lai Chow travels light and is working on exercising demons from her past. Find out more about her at lowlaichow.com.

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