Scientists Find Mechanism That Creates False Memories In Our Brain

Brain News: New study found that our brain can update or ‘edit’ poorly formed memories with the wrong information. The incorrect memory updating process could be caused by reconsolidation.

Memories should accurately reflect what actually happened during an event and for that they must be well-formed in our brain. Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney investigated the memories that are not well-formed in our brain and how our brain deals with them. The team used novel behavioural, molecular and computational techniques.

According to the senior author Professor Bryce Vissel, many memories are likely to be inaccurate — especially when your experience in an event was brief, sudden or highly emotional, as can often occur during trauma. Inaccurate memories can also occur because of disease like Alzheimer’s or memory is poorly encoded, potentially as a result of subtle differences in how each person processes memory.

The study findings reveal that when a person forms a poor memory, the brain reactivates the memory in similar situations and then updates it. Wrong reactivation of poorly formed memories in a similar but irrelevant situation causes the brain to update the memory from that irrelevant situation. Hence, the memory becomes incorrect instead of formation of new and entirely different memory of the new situation.

“This suggests we might be able to target such updating mechanisms therapeutically to treat memory and anxiety disorders where memory formation is poor,” said lead author Dr Raphael Zinn.

To Know More You May Refer To

Zinn, R., Leake, J., Krasne, F. B., Corbit, L. H., Fanselow, M. S., & Vissel, B. (2020). Maladaptive properties of context-impoverished memories. Current Biology, 30(12), 2300-2311.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.040

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