The movie Inception is getting closer to reality. By planting false memories into the minds of mice, neuroscientists at MIT have created the first artificially implanted memories. And they’ve brought us closer to understanding the fallibility of human recollection.
When we experience something, say a trip to the park, a memory of the event is stored in a constellation of interconnected neurons in our brains called an “engram,” or memory trace. When you recall that trip to the park, neurons in the engram become active. Reactivate those neurons artificially, the theory goes, and you can bring the memory bubbling to the surface of someone’s psyche.