False memory planted in mouse mind by MIT researchers

From The Boston Globe today: "In a mind-control experiment that demonstrates the astonishing power of new neuroscience tools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers planted a false memory in the mind of a mouse using genetic techniques that allow them to trigger specific brain cells with light. 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." More in the journal Science.

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  1. "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..."

  2. We'll remember it for you wholesale!

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

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