False memory planted in mouse mind by MIT researchers




A happy vivisection tale. Sounds like fun!


"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..."


Can, like, Google Glass do this to people?


We'll remember it for you wholesale!


Don't be paranoid. I've been using Google Glass for as long as I can remember and it hasn't had any effect on me whatsoever.


Implants! Those aren't your memories, they're somebody else's.


What about that guy they lobotomized; did he get a refund?


Until I clicked on the journal link, I had no idea that "engram" meant anything outside the context of Scientology.


You see, that's what the aliens did to you to give you your false memories of being abducted by aliens,


So wait--was the mouse really an interplanetary secret agent or not? It wasn't clear to me.


Yet another sad example on Boing Boing reporting on a bunch men and women torturing some poor animals in the name of science.


Is there some subtlety I'm not aware of that makes novel basic research in the neurology of memory formation 'in the name of science' rather than 'science'?

You don't have to like the fact that model organisms are a staple of research, especially on biological processes; but you'd better come prepared if you want to argue that a given item of research is "in the name of science", with the strong connotations of dishonest agenda-laundering, rather than "science". It's a fairly serious accusation.


In fact, the MIT team did not implant a false memory, rather, they transferred a mouse's real memory of having been shocked in one room to another room. Or did they even accomplish that? What is certain is that they made the mouse feel sensations similar to those experienced in the "shock room" while it was in another room - a room it had previously been safe in - provoking concern on the part of the mouse. They did this by shocking the mouse in the shock room while stimulating brain cells that had been active in the safe room - via fiber optics implanted in the mouse's brain. The mouse then associated its previously innocuous safe room with the torture it had experienced in the shock room. The theory is that this may occur naturally as well. And experience from humans certainly supports this idea of sensations being transposed from one event to another: If you were ever mugged in one alleyway, you'll feel dread in other alleyways you'd previously found to be safe, if something about them reminds you of the earlier alleyway. You don't have a false memory of having been mugged in the safe alleyways, but you will experience the feelings you experienced in the other.


Get your ass to Mars.


The picture reminded me of one a friend showed me the other day.
She does research on rats, (looking at the effect of various drugs on brain activity).
To build a shield around the implanted brain probes, they use old drinks cans, folded into a Faraday cage (and some mechanical protection as well). This leads to her test subjects running around with what look like elaborate hats made out of old coke and red stripe cans on their heads.

She loves those rats, feeds them, cleans them, looks after them every day, and also sticks probes into their brains and eventually euthanasies them herself so that she knows they didn't suffer. All in order to enhance our knowledge about how brains work. She's happy with that compromise and so am I.


You had to dump a chunk of what??


Agreed. For every animal testing post here I love Boing Boing a little less.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.