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  • Whether it's from an awful breakup or a traumatic life event, some memories can haunt us for our entire lives.

  • But, what if there was a way that you could completely forget these all together?

  • Can science erase your bad memories?

  • Memory is an incredibly complex process;

  • while scientists used to believe it was like a filing cabinet and particular memories were stored in different sections of the brain,

  • we now know this is incorrect.

  • In fact, each memory is a brain wide process.

  • If you end up remembering this video, it's because the cells in your brain are being triggered and fired.

  • building new connections and links and literally rewiring the circuitry of your mind.

  • And this change is partially facilitated by proteins in the brain.

  • So what if the proteins aren't available?

  • Simply put memories can't be made.

  • Seriously scientists have tested this by giving animals drugs that prevent these proteins from forming.

  • As a result the animals have no recollection of the things that took place shortly after the drug was taken.

  • From this research, scientists actually found a way to target long term memories for deletion.

  • You see, every single time you remember a memory, your brain is once again firing and rewiring.

  • In fact, each time you reflect on a memory, you are literally physically changing that memory in your mind.

  • And each time that memory is altered a little, reflecting your current thoughts.

  • Remembering is an act of creation and imagining, meaning the more you reflect on old memories, the less accurate they become.

  • And scientists have actually quantified this change.

  • After 9/11, hundreds of people were asked about their memories of the dreadful day.

  • A year later, 37% of the details had changed.

  • By 2004, nearly 50% of the details had changed or gone missing.

  • And because memories are formed and rebuilt every time,

  • if you administer the protein inhibiting drug while recalling a memory, the memory can be effectively removed.

  • To test this, scientists took lab rats and played a sound for them, shortly followed by an electric shock.

  • After doing this multiple times, the rats quickly learned that if they heard the sound, a shock was soon to follow.

  • As a result, they would stress up and freeze every time they heard it.

  • Months later, these rats would still respond to the noise;

  • however, if they administered the drug first, the rats would lose the memory of the sound, and simply continue on.

  • They had lost their memory of that specific noise.

  • To be sure the drug wasn't just causing large scale brain damage, scientists repeated these experiments with multiple tones this time.

  • Both sounds would warn for a shock, and eventually the mice would fear both.

  • But if they administered the drug and played only one of the sounds,

  • the mice would only forget that one tone, while still remaining fearful of the other.

  • Over time scientists have discovered specific drugs to target particular proteins across different parts of the brain.

  • So, if you experience a terrible emotion with a memory,

  • then targeting a protein in the emotional regions of the brain can help to remove that connection alone.

  • Which could be an amazing tool, especially for patients suffering from something like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  • But while these drugs are in the very early stages, the question remains;

  • if you were given a "forgetting pill" would you be willing to take it?

  • Special thanks to for supporting this episode and giving you a free audio book of your choice at

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  • We recommend the bookUndeniable: Evolution and the science of creationby the one and only Bill Nye the Science Guy who we did a video with on this channel a while back!

  • You can download this audio book or another of your choice, for free, at

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  • Special thanks Audible for making these videos possible! And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

Whether it's from an awful breakup or a traumatic life event, some memories can haunt us for our entire lives.

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Can You Erase Bad Memories?

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    朱朱 posted on 2015/02/25
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