False Memories – New Evidence – MIT Team Creates False Memories in Mice
Amazing. MIT scientists found a way to find the location of memory, and to test whether they could create a false memory in a mouse. They succeeded. Happily, mice usually are not trial witnesses. But this research may end up as part of the expert materials in "false memory" arguments and litigation involving humans.
The full story is here in Science, but behind a paywall. The abstract is as follows:
"Memories can be unreliable. We created a false memory in mice by optogenetically manipulating memory engram–bearing cells in the hippocampus. Dentate gyrus (DG) or CA1 neurons activated by exposure to a particular context were labeled with channelrhodopsin-2. These neurons were later optically reactivated during fear conditioning in a different context. The DG experimental group showed increased freezing in the original context, in which a foot shock was never delivered. The recall of this false memory was context-specific, activated similar downstream regions engaged during natural fear memory recall, and was also capable of driving an active fear response. Our data demonstrate that it is possible to generate an internally represented and behaviorally expressed fear memory via artificial means."