Northwestern Researchers Can Remember It For You Wholesale

Philip K. Dick's marvelous short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (from which the film Total Recall is taken) is a story about identity and memory. In the story, a company called Rekal, Inc. is able to send you on a "vacation" by implanting a set of false memories. When the procedure is completed, you remember having taken the trip:

"Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?" Quail asked.

"More than the real thing, sir...our analysis of true-mem systems - authentic recollections of major events in a person's life - shows that a variety of details are very quickly lost..." (Read more)


(From Total Recall)

Northwestern scientists have been studying false memories, which lie at the center of a variety of societal disputes, including the validity of repressed memories from traumatic events, as well as ordinary testimony in a criminal trial. Using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology, the researchers are trying to understand how it is possible to form a "memory" of an event that didn't actually happen.

What they found is that a vividly imagined event can leave a memory trace in the brain that is similar to that of a real event. Some of the same brain areas are used whether an object or event is actually perceived or only imagined.

Here's how the test worked:

For this procedure of measuring brain activity, people lay down in an MRI machine as they looked at a screen with a series of words, all concrete nouns, and pictures, and they wore head phones to hear what was being said. They were instructed to generate a visual image corresponding to each object that was named. For half the words, a photographic image of the object was presented. The subjects were told to make no response to photos, but only to look at each one while waiting for the next word.
Following this procedure, the subjects were given a set of words, and were asked if they had been shown a picture of that word. Three brain areas (precuneus, right inferior parietal cortex and anterior cingulate) were found to show greater responses to words that would be falsely remembered as having been shown with a picture.

The new finding showed that different brain areas are critical for accurate memories, as opposed to false remembering. The investigators of this study are not quite ready to found a company like Rekal, Inc. - but they are getting closer.

From Northwestern researchers pinpoint how false memories are formed.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/15/2004)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

Sheepskin Parchment Helped Medieval Lawyers Prevent Fraud
'The single sheet he held, and even the words and signatures upon it, were all integral parts of a single giant molecule...' - Gordon R. Dickson, 1960.

Glad 2020 Is Over
Maybe you missed one of these?

'Black Friday' Online Shopping - In 1899!
'In your days they showed you a fashion-plate,' said the tailor, 'but this is our modern development.' HG Wells, 1899.

What Does A Tesla Full Self-Driving Car See?
'All objects within my panoramic gaze trembled and vibrated like quick motion pictures...' - Paramahansa Yogananda, 1946.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Implantable Covid-Detecting Microchip Developed By DARPA
'Employees... were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'

SpaceX Requests Starlink For Starship
'... sweating, heat-blistered engineers at every interplanetary radiograph station on three planets.'

SF Writers Predicted John Deere Autonomous Tractors
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

DARPA Funding AI Fighter Pilots
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

StoryFile To Help William Shatner Become Landru
"I am Landru. I am he! All that he was, I am."

Telehealth Drones To The Rescue
'A shadow passed over him, and he looked up.'

Capture Asteroids In A Bag
'... just as a small boy catches a swift ball in his cap.'

Sony Pocket Air Conditioner Is Phil Dick's Idea!
'... he went to the hall closet to get his pith helmet and his mandatory cooling-unit.'

Is It Possible To GROW Planes And Vehicles?
'These are your rudimentary seed packages...'

Guard Dog Robot Security Check
'We still use people at the main gates, but here it's an automated sentry.'

Sheepskin Parchment Helped Medieval Lawyers Prevent Fraud
'The single sheet he held, and even the words and signatures upon it, were all integral parts of a single giant molecule...'

Space 'Hurricane' Has Been Seen
'... it was the biggest of the four hundred odd storms raging in the Fifty Suns region.'

PR2 Fencing Robot Perfect For Kwisatz Haderach-in-training
'Now, we'll work on your timing. Let me see you catch that thing sinister.'

Sole Morphing Astronaut Boots - A New Pair Of Moon Boots?
'Itís an ideal device for kangarooing along in lunar gravity.'

Mice Gestate In Mechanical Womb
'... in the Decanting Room, the newly-unbottled babes uttered their first yell of horror and amazement.'

3rd Century BC Gold Bee Is Just The Start
Bees knees, I order you to freeze!

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.