Repairing bad memories
July 1, 2013
Recent research has shown that memories are not unchanging physical traces in the brain. Instead, they are malleable constructs that may be rebuilt every time they are recalled, MIT Technology Review reports.
Doctors (and psychotherapists) might be able to use this knowledge to help patients block the fearful emotions they experience when recalling a traumatic event, converting chronic sources of debilitating anxiety into benign trips down memory lane.
Research argues that we can alter the emotional impact of a memory by adding new information to it or recalling it in a different context. This hypothesis challenges 100 years of neuroscience and overturns cultural touchstones from Marcel Proust to best-selling memoirs. [...]