A bunch of MIT researchers have worked out a way to give mice false memories.
According to a study published in the journal Science, the experiment was designed to examine the phenomenon called false memory syndrome.
False memories are events which never happened often caused by brain errors. We store these in our mind which still manage to influence behaviour.
MIT used genetically modified mice that allowed for certain neurons to be activated with a flash of light.
The technique enabled the researchers to activate a memory that caused a mouse to believe it had experienced electrical shocks in a particular box, even though no such thing had happened there.
By manipulating the memory engram-bearing cells in the hippocampus, the research team convinced a few unsuspecting mice that they had experienced a shock to their feet when one had never actually occurred.
When the animal was put back in the chamber where the fake shock happened it fearfully froze, indicating that it remembered getting shocked in that chamber.
What this means is that your memories are just activities of different cells, and they can take the place of an actual event that happened by activating some cells in the brain.
The team thinks their research will reach a point where it is possible to replace or delete memories which cause problems for a person.