Scientists Give Sleeping Mice False Memories

Over at Sciencealert.com, there is the story of a new discovery that is sure to inspire many a disturbing distopian scenario:

 

Scientists have successfully hacked into the brains of napping mice, implanting false but cheerful memories via electrode stimulation, and demonstrating for the first time that memory manipulation during sleep is possible.

The team from the National Centre for Scientific Research (CRNS) in France managed to create positive feelings about a specific location that five mice had explored earlier in the day. They did this by stimulating their brains as they slept. So strong were these feelings, that when the mice woke up, they immediately wandered back to that location, presumably seeking some kind of reward.

 

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The article points out some potentially beneficial therapeutical uses of the new technique, should it be successfully developed, but the ability to plant false memories in our brains while we sleep, even if happy ones, is a scarily powerful tool in the wrong hands:

“Ah, what a beautiful sunrise! Hey, everyone, I had such a wonderful time at the government reeducation camp last night, you should all come with me this morning!”