Ever woken up with the sickening realization that you’re missing two hours from last night, forcing you to conclude that you were probably acting a complete fool? Well, a laboratory mouse somewhere in Cambridge, Mass. is experiencing the opposite, after MIT scientists managed to implant a false memory inside her wee brain.
The Boston Globe reports:
“The scientists were able to make the mouse recall something that had never occurred—having its foot painfully zapped when in the familiar red chamber—and react in fear exactly like it would have in response to a real memory.”
They used a technique called optogenetics, “which uses genetic manipulation and laser light to activate specific brain cells with remarkable precision,” according to the Globe.
Don’t worry, though: Scientists say they aren’t planning on giving people loads of false memories, but ”they think that the ability to generate erroneous recollections in a laboratory animal might also elucidate something about psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia.” That of course dispels all our fears about a dystopian future where no one knows what’s real and what’s a neuroscientifically engineered falsehood.