11:31 29 July 2013
Scientists, with the aim to prove that creating inaccurate recollections of the past is very easy, have successfully implanted false memories of an event that never happened into the brains of mice.
A study in the 1970s has proven that human memory can be highly unreliable. The study, which involved eyewitness testimonies, showed that simple changes in how a question was asked could influence the memory for the witness. It is believed many people were wrongly convicted when eyewitness testimonies alone were used. Some people where later exonerated by DNA evidence.
Xu Liu, part of the research team, told The Independent: “False memory in humans often results from mixing different sources of information or confusing something thought or imagined with reality.”
He added: “In our study we brought back an old memory in the mouse brain and artificially associated it with a real stimulus, thus we generated a new memory for an event that never happened in reality. This illustrated one possible way how false memory can form in humans.”
“It might be hard to imagine that mice have memories, but like other biological traits, memory is essential to life and thus is conserved throughout the animal kingdom, from sea slug, fruit flies, to mice and human.”
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