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 ")

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...' - William Gibson, 1996.

Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.' - George Orwell, 1948.

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.' - Bruce Sterling, 1985.

 

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

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'

IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'

Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'

Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'

Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'

BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'

IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

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.