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Scientists Plant False Memories to Curb Drinking

Scientists Plant False Memories to Curb Drinking

Get out of our heads! Oh wait, that hangover really did happen

We'll admit it, certain staffers here may have an aversion to tequila, and it's not because we don't like the taste — the memories of one bad drinking experience can stick with you for years down the road.

As people who experienced food poisoning as a kid may know, bad experiences with foods can turn you off to that particular dish for a while. So scientists decided to test this theory with drinking by implanting false memories into people's brains.

"We do have a malleable memory," researcher Elizabeth Loftus told TIME. "This malleability allows us to correct errors when they spontaneously creep in, so that we can update them with the truth. It also allows us to live with a little fiction that might make us feel better about ourselves."

Loftus and company surveyed 147 undergraduate students, asking them about food and drink preferences. The students were then given specific profiles, some with false information about bad experiences with certain drinks. Those students were then asked to elaborate on what happened.

The study found that nearly 20 percent of the students developed false memories, and those who believed the false memories the most tended to have their tastes change even more drastically. And while it just seems wrong to tell someone that they once did something absolutely horrifyingly embarrassing while wasted on vodka, researchers also discovered that positive reinforcement was more powerful than negative.

"A manufactured memory of having 'loved' white wine before age 20 did increase [white wine's appeal]," TIME reports.

'Lost' memories can indeed be retrieved: Scientists

Furthermore, the researchers were able to artificially stimulate those memories using a technique known as optogenetics, suggesting that those memories can still be retrieved with a little help.

New York: In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, patients are often unable to remember recent experiences. However, a significant research suggests that those memories are still stored in the brain and can be retrieved with a new technique in the near future.

According to neuroscientists including an Indian-origin scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), mice in the early stages of Alzheimer's can form new memories just as well as normal mice but cannot recall them a few days later.

Furthermore, the researchers were able to artificially stimulate those memories using a technique known as optogenetics, suggesting that those memories can still be retrieved with a little help.

Although optogenetics cannot currently be used in humans, the findings raise the possibility of developing future treatments that might reverse some of the memory loss seen in early stage Alzheimer's.

“The important point is that this is a proof of concept. That is, even if a memory seems to be gone, it is still there. It's a matter of how to retrieve it,” said Susumu Tonegawa, director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

Tonegawa is the senior author of the study which appeared in the journal Nature, and Dheeraj Roy, an MIT graduate student, is the paper's lead author.

The researchers have also shown that they can manipulate these memory traces or engrams to plant false memories, activate existing memories, or alter a memory's emotional associations.

To investigate this further, the researchers studied two different strains of mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's symptoms along with a group of healthy mice.

All of these mice, when exposed to a chamber where they received a foot shock, showed fear when placed in the same chamber an hour later.

However, when placed in the chamber again several days later, only the normal mice still showed fear.

The Alzheimer's mice did not appear to remember the foot shock.

"Short-term memory seems to be normal, on the order of hours. But for long-term memory, these early Alzheimer's mice seem to be impaired," Roy said.

The researchers then showed that while the mice cannot recall their experiences when prompted by natural cues, those memories are still there.

“Directly activating the cells that we believe are holding the memory gets them to retrieve it," Roy noted, adding that “this suggests that it is indeed an access problem to the information, not that they're unable to learn or store this memory”.

“If we want to recall a memory, the memory-holding cells have to be reactivated by the correct cue. If the spine density does not go up during learning process, then later, if you give a natural recall cue, it may not be able to reach the nucleus of the engram cells," Tonegawa explained.

The researchers were also able to induce a longer-term reactivation of the "lost" memories by stimulating new connections between the entorhinal cortex region of the brain and the hippocampus.

“It's possible that in the future some technology will be developed to activate or inactivate cells deep inside the brain, like the hippocampus or entorhinal cortex, with more precision," Tonegawa added.

From False Memories To Things That Don't Exist, These Are 7 Times Your Brain Has Tricked You!

Have you ever wondered that your brain can play games with you? It can trick you make you believe in things which don’t exist. It even lies to you in some situations and you won’t even realise it.

Though it is the one who rules us all the time, there are times when it can deceive you. Here are seven times, when the powerhouse of your body confuses you, instead of making it clear.

1. Your brain tricks you when you are half-asleep

You are in the state of hypnagogic hallucinations when you are half-asleep and half-awake. It is during that time, your brain tricks you when you go into a hypnagogic hallucination stage, which means it makes you feel that you’re dreaming when you’re partially awake. After waking up, you think you had a good sleep, but you clearly did not.

2. When you wake up after long hours of sleep

Have you ever woke up feeling groggy after 12 hours of sleep? Though your coffee might get you back on track, but it’s your brain that is tricking you by leaving you in a state between sleeping and waking up. That grogginess is because your brain is still recovering from the 12-hour lull.

3. It makes you believe in false memories

It’s funny how your brain can make you believe on events that haven’t taken place. It’s a fact, and it’s proven by scientists who have conducted experiments on memory, that it’s very easy to plant false memories in your brain. For instance, researchers convinced a woman that when she was a kid, she was lost in a mall, even when she wasn’t!

4. When you flinch after seeing someone getting hurt

Do you go all ‘ouuuch’ when you see someone hurting their foot while playing? Or do you tell someone ‘I know how it feels’ when someone says they are heartbroken? That, there, what you’re experiencing is called ‘sympathetic response’. Even though no harm is caused to you, you ‘feeling’ the harm is the way your brain is tricking you.

5. When you watch a horror film alone and feel there is something coming after you

Once your horror film is finished and you switch off the TV and sit for some time thinking what you just watched, you start feeling that someone is standing in the hallway. You then also feel that someone is screaming or whispering in the dark when the reality is that nothing of that sorts is happening. That is the time, your brain is filling the void of sensory deprivation with such false information.

6. When your colleague sings a catchy song and you pick it up and sing it all day long

How many times have you hummed a '90s song, just because your colleague was singing it? A song becomes an ‘earworm’ when someone reminds you of it and you don’t stop listening or singing it. Even when you want to stop listening to that shitty song, your brain just can’t.

7. When someone asks you to give an opinion on immoral issues like incest or rape, you get dumbstruck

For instance, you have a strong opinion about rape. However, when someone asks you what you feel about it, you have a problem in verbalising your reasoning. You then stutter and use ‘umm. hmm’ a lot. You know that you know everything, but you don’t know how to present it.

Christmas food for thought: Feed me, all 100 trillion of me

The morning before Christmas eve, I’m sitting here in the dining room munching happily on the bits and pieces of what’s left of our gingerbread house that was only erected to its full glory the night before. I have not consumed this amount of carbohydrates in over a year.

Inside, a few species of my extensive gut microbe community are screaming bloody murder.

When you eat, you’re not only feeding your own fleshy vessel, but also the 100 trillion of microbugs that thrive in your intestines. Hardly “along for the ride”, these bugs not only help us digest foodstuff, ferment carbohydrates and proteins but also heavily impact our metabolism and general health. Depending on their composition, they tweak our risk of cardiovascular diseases, Type II diabetes and may even cause obesity in humans. There’s tantalizing evidence that their reach extends to the brain, influencing mood, anxiety and cognition in mice.

However, the gut microbiota* is a fluid, ever-changing beast. In one previous study, researchers transplanted gut-free mice with fresh or frozen human poop to inoculate them with a microbiome of known composition. When researchers switched these mice’s plant-based diet to a high-fat, high-sugar one, the structure of the established microbiome changed within a single day: some species dwindled in number, while others exploded onto the intestinal stage, bringing with them their particular metabolic tricks. (*The word “microbiome” refers to the set of genes in the gut bugs).

Similar diet-induced changes have been found in humans. When babies are weaned from their mothers’ milk and switch to solid food, their gut bug community simultaneously go through tumultuous changes. The gut bugs of African hunter-gatherers vastly differ from those in people grown on a Western diet. But these changes take weeks, even lifetimes. Just how fast can the microbiome adapt and change to a new diet?

In a new study, researchers recruited ten volunteers and put them on two drastically different extreme diets for 5 days – as you can see below, the plant-based diet was rich in grains, fruits and vegetables (high-carb and high-fibre), while the animal-based diet consisted of meats, eggs and cheeses (high-fat, high-protein and low/no-fibre). Each day, the volunteers handed in a poop sample for the researchers to monitor.

In general, the animal-based diet had a greater impact on gut flora than the plant-based one. It significantly increased the diversity of gut flora, enriching 22 species whilst decreasing the fibre-intake associated Prevotella in a life-long vegetarian on this meaty diet. The plant-based diet, on the other hand, only increased the abundance of 3 species, mostly those associated with carbohydrate fermentation.

Many of the changes made sense. An animal-based diet enriched putrefactive microbes, shifting carbohydrate fermentation into amino acid digestion, thus helping the body break down the onslaught of heaps animal protein. Several strains of immigrant bacteria – particularly those used for cheese- and sausage-making –settled down and made themselves comfortable in the native gut flora community. The meat-heavy diet also triggered microbes to activate pathways that degrade cancer-causing compounds found in charred meats, and enhanced the synthesis of vitamins.

On the other hand, several strains of potentially health-negative bacteria also multiplied in the meat-eaters. On a high-fat diet, we excrete more bile – a bitter fluid that may ruin a good fish dish – to deal with the digestion of fat. Bile is toxic to many gutbugs, but not to the mighty Bilophila (“bile-loving”) wadsworthia – a bile-resistant bacterium stimulated by saturated fats in milk that may cause intestinal inflammation, at least in mice. The high-fat content in the animal-based diet also triggered increased levels of microbe-produced DCA, which is previously linked to liver cancer in mice. However, as of now there’s no evidence that these risks also apply to people, and researchers caution against making health-related judgments (although some can’t resist the temptation).

On the whole, plant- and animal-based diets induced changes in host microbiome gene structure that resembled those of herbivorous and carnivorous mammals within a few days. Furthermore, the volunteer’s microbiome reversed back to their previous composition only 2 days after the end of the experiment. Researchers believe we might be looking at a fast-forwarded movie of millions of years of co-evolution between humans and their microbugs: when animal food sources fell scarce, our ancestors were forced to switch to a plant-heavy diet a flexible gut-bug community could quickly and appropriately shift their repertoire and function to help digestion, thus increasing the flexibility of human diets and chances of survival.

Thus, when you gobble down the vast selection of Christmas dishes this year, remember to thank the flexibility of your gut flora for your diverse digestive powers. And remember that we can’t say one diet is better than the other for our microbiota the take-home message is that they are incredible flexible, more so than we previously thought. In the end, it still comes down to the age-old wisdom: you are what you eat.

David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, Gootenberg DB, Button JE, Wolfe BE, Ling AV, Devlin AS, Varma Y, Fischbach MA, Biddinger SB, Dutton RJ, & Turnbaugh PJ (2013). Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature PMID: 24336217


The association was induced by specifically targeting two early visual areas of the brain.

Named 'V1' and 'V2', the areas are the first parts of the cortex to process basic visual information coming from the eyes.

But scientists had not previously seen associative learning happening in these areas.

The idea that people can interfere with others' thoughts and implant things in their minds was made famous by the 2010 film 'Inception' (pictured). But the concept is not completely science fiction, according to a group of researchers at Brown University


With volunteers in the scanner, the patterns of activity in two areas of the brain were first measured when the subjects saw different combinations of coloured backgrounds (red, green and grey) behind two different stripe orientations (vertical and horizontal).

This data was used to encode a 'classifier' that could distinguish between red and green - to recognise the brain activity the volunteers induced in those areas in future experiments.

Over three days of training, looking at disks with vertical and horizontal stripes. volunteers were asked to think of a variety of ways they might use their brains to enlarge a disk they were looking at.

But in reality the disk only got larger, and the participants were given a higher 'score', when the classifier saw signs they were thinking of the colour red.

The 12 volunteers were really being trained so that after seeing vertical stripes they would induce activity patterns in V1 and V2 similar to the activity that had occurred when they actually saw red.

After three days of training, participants were trained into seeing red when they saw vertical stripes.

'This is the first clear study that shows that V1 and V2 are capable of creating associative learning,' said Professor Takeo Watanabe, corresponding author of the paper published in the journal Current Biology.

The idea for neurofeedback technique grew out of research from the 1960s showing that a person could regulate his heart rate or temperature just by thinking about it.

Because our brains regulate temperature and heart rate, Professor Watanabe wanted to see if we could regulate other aspects of brain activity.

'Participants were not aware of the purpose of the experiment or what kind of activation they learned to induce,' Professor Watanabe said.

After the experiment, the researchers asked the subjects what they were thinking about when they got high scores.

'I imagined a zebra,' said one participant, reported Stat News.

'I imagined a gymnastics match in which I performed well,' 'I imagined a situation where I behaved violently,' others reported.

The idea for neurofeedback technique grew out of research from the 1960s showing that a person could regulate his heart rate or temperature just by thinking about it. Because our brains regulate temperature and heart rate, Professor Watanabe (picutred) wanted to see if we could regulate other aspects of brain activity

The participants were not hallucinating the color red, Professor Watanabe said. Instead their experiences were more similar to synesthesia, a condition in which people perceive coloors when they look at printed numbers and letters.

Associative learning and memory, the idea that 'this goes with that', is pervasive in the brain.

But it was a novel finding of basic brain science to show that it can occur in early visual areas, Professor Watanabe said.

Professor Watanabe said he is eager to find out if scientists can use the study's technique of training subjects with (unwitting) MRI-based feedback to create associations in other parts of the brain for educational or therapeutic reasons.

'Our brain functions are mostly based on associative processing, so association is extremely important,' Professor Watanabe said. 'Now we know that this technology can be applied to induce associative learning.'

The Sojourn of Fake News | Effects and Possible Solutions

Tossed from tattling sites, spins the social media, hits the headlines, captures the consciousness, metamorphosis the mind-sets and finally declared dead – the sojourn of fake news. They have become powerful sign of foul language. The gossiping websites and hackers are blazing out fake stories fearlessly on all visible sections of society ranging from politics to general public. But these fake stories aren’t only triggering the society but also triggers the thoughts of society. This essay will be examining its adverse effects in the environment with the possible solutions

Technological advancements have set a platform for people to actively participate in the events related to social issues. Fake news also has become an active participant in blasting out the thoughts of people. One fake story has ability to purchase one million attentions. A philanthropist within a fraction of seconds could be tagged as an ostentatious person with one fake news. An innocent man could be picturized like a molester with one manipulated video. Just imagine a headline where nations trusted monk accepts only women to work in his premises, saying women needs to be trained in spiritualistic vision. The story also hits with photoshopped pictures of the premises with young women massaging their guru. What will you think? Aren’t your brains muted from raising a question is it a fake news? Will you not be curious to know about it further? Yes. Fake news triggers the curiosity of the person. When read they would instantly get registered in the minds of people and develop negative thoughts that would affect the environment. Even after the concerned persons clarifies it as a fake news and even it flashes out to be a breaking news, the fake story wouldn’t be eradicated from the minds of people. These misinformation imprints false beliefs on the minds of people. Backbites follows in entire journey of life, for persons mousetrapped in fake stories.

The world gets updated with lots of events from elections to festivals to accidents. The news gets passed among everyone with ample of shares in lightning speed and very soon the source of information goes unidentified which imparts wonderful opportunity for hackers to plant false news. Especially during the election campaign or any protest, hurricane of fake news will be posted. This misinformation can also be motivated by politics.

With or without malign intent, the internet and social medias can enable citizens to adopt hateful propaganda, fuelling hostility between different communities leading to outbreak of violence. Now let us see how to predict if it’s a dubious information:

For any authentic article, details of its publisher, editor and photographer will be mentioned at start or end of the article. But in fake news everything will be anonymous. We will be unable to find any information regarding its source. So, if its anonymous chances are high that it could be a fake news.

When I scrolled my Facebook page I came across an advertisement about recruitment process for airport jobs. I just checked out the provided information. Everything out there clearly explained in a way it could attract number of attentions. But I have this habit of checking the comment section of every posts just to see other people’s opinion. There were number of comment saying it’s a fake news. And I couldn’t think further about this job. Readers should develop the habit of checking comment section and people should also voice out in comment section if you find it as a fake news.

As far ethics of mass media, headlines should not be provocative and also should be cautious in criticizing any judicial actions. If any piece of information is not cautious with its title thereby encouraging social evils chances are more it may be a false information.

Check the same information from various different sources to see if same story is shared in their websites too. You can also reverse check the pictures by copy pasting in google, if there exit more controversies with that picture chances are high that it might be fake story.

Fake news can inter-connected with fun and excitement. They make you smile and laugh. As for real news concerned, there is no humour in it. Therefore, any headlines which sounds to be fun may not be an authentic news.

Contemporary world has also coined the term citizen journalism. Now, anyone can post any content with the internet and new media technologies offering unlimited opportunities to upload and share content for public consumption. This freedom is often misused by some people who are sometimes motivated by profits and sometimes by politics.

On a global note fake news has gained momentum. Every countries of the world are working to cease the spread of fake news. In order to cease the spread dubious information, it’s imperative that government invest resources in this phenomenon, industry partners and computer scientists have tightened cyber warfare, journalists ensures high standards for themselves in terms of providing accurate information and most importantly general audience are educated to identify misinformation.

Ways proposed by Government of different countries to eradicate fake news

  • In Cambodia, now requires all websites to register with the ministry of information as apart of directive passed in July that also prescribed jail sentences for spreading fake news.
  • In Egypt, passed a new legislation that requires all social media users with more than 5000 followers to procure a license from The Higher Council of Media Regulation.
  • In Japan, a project has been launched by Japan Centre of Education for Journalist involving 19 media companies including newspaper, online media and television networks during their election campaign. If any news circulated about elections in social media, the companies would check their contents and if its determined fake by atleast 3 companies, the JCEJ website will publicise it as fake news.
  • In China, government hosted media officials from different countries for two-three week seminars about their censorship and surveillance system. Its companies have supplied telecommunication hardware, advanced facial-recognition technology and data analytics tools to a variety of governments.

What tech companies can do?

  • Strengthening obligations for network operators and social media companies to register users under their real names.
  • Tech companies can link fact-checking tool and social media platforms which could make it easier to minimize the circulation of dubious information.
  • During election campaign or any other protest, accounts of prominent persons will be under high threat. So cyber security can be strengthened for their accounts to prevent hackers from misusing it.
  • Citizens should not frame an uneducated outlook by sharing everything they get to see. They should not give hackers a chance to gain profits by means of posting misinformation thereby turning old fashioned politics to cyber politics. Instead citizens should be well-equipped to separate quality information and false information.
  • People should be educated to use and relay upon vital fact checking tools.
  • If it’s found to be fake news, initiate steps to report in Facebook.
  • Cultivate habit of looking the source of any information.
  • Subscribe to responsible newspapers and newsmagazines which emphasis on accuracy.

The one sole purpose of social media is the purpose of expression. Expression of one’s emotions, one’s appearance and one’s reality. This purpose should not be disturbed by false means. Instead this purpose should be strengthened. The source of these misinformation cannot be eliminated but can be solved with our conscience. Hence to curb the negative effects of fake news, its mandatory that the government and tech companies enhances the purpose of cyber security and general public takes responsibility for sharing quality information with one another. As the world is becoming more digital-savvy, let’s stay conscious with our consumption of information.

Psych unit 2 questions

methodical step-by-step procedure for solving problems.

simple thinking strategy for making decisions quickly and efficiently.

method of hypothesis testing involving trial and error.

specific kind of prototype.

competitiveness and dogmatism.

competitiveness and empathy.

imagination and extrinsic motivation.

all languages share a similar grammar.

our linguistic proficiencies influence our social status.

infancy is a critical period for language development.

words shape the way people think.

the representativeness heuristic.

preschoolers typically fail to use proper syntax.

toddlers maintain a capacity to discriminate language sounds they have never heard.

grammatical systems are similar in all languages.

people most easily master the grammar of a second language during childhood.

the representativeness heuristic.

the representativeness heuristic.

the availability heuristic.

the representativeness heuristic.

overregularization of grammar rules

the deep structure of language

the overconfidence effect

the availability heuristic

An estimate of the likelihood of an event based on how easily it can be recalled

an estimate of the likelihood of an event based on how well it matches a typical example

the tendency to use an initial value as a reference point in making new estimates

the tendency to believe something after it has been discredited

general cognitive development

an innate language acquisition device

The availability heuristic

The representativeness heuristic

planning what to wear to a party

identifying an object held in the hand but not seen

comprehending a spoken request for information

remembering the name of a person in a photograph

language acquisition device (LAD)

Superior ability of older adults to recall events from their childhood

Increased efficiency of synaptic transmission between certain neurons following learning

Tendency of people to recall experiences that are consistent with their current mood

Disruptive influence of recent memories on the recall of old memories

unconscious and illogical

Cassie's vivid memory of the explosion of space shuttle Challenger is not corroborated by those she was with at the time.

Alyse cannot remember any detail of what happened right before her accident.

Ty cannot recall the face of the thief he saw running from the scene of the crime.

Katie attributes her performance on a standardized test to the fact hat she took the exam in a room other than the one in which she learned the material.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Template Spreadsheet for FMRI Results

Organizing FMRI results is hard work. Perhaps that explains why the vast majority of the world's population doesn't do it, and wouldn't do it even if they knew how. Nevertheless, for a harmless drudge such as yourself, organization and interpretation of results is a daily necessity, and the more streamlined you can make it the better for you and your adviser overlord who unfortunately will not be able to fund your summer research but will be ordering that custom-made Bentley imported from England. Keep at it, and one day you'll be the one importing cars and being swarmed at conferences by more science-worshiping nerdlings than you can shake a stick at.

To help you out with this, there is a short Excel spreadsheet template that you can find here which will automatically plot a barchart of your results and calculate both main effects and interactions. This is especially useful for plotting and calculating double dissociations, which is one of the most attractive, sultry, sexy results found in the literature. According to most people, anyway. Me? I'm more of a simple-effects kind of guy. Ladies?

Hit the video in case you aren't completely sure how Excel works, and need a brief refresher. Or, if you're just curious what kind of shirt I'm wearing today.

False memories

A presentation discussing the science and neuroethic implications of a paper published in Science by Ramirez, S. et al. in late 2013.

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Karl Lashley spent 30 years trying to find the elusive engram by subjecting rats and monkeys to a series of tasks and then before or after the training, certain parts of the brain were removed and the animals were forced to repeat the tests. Here he mapped the monkey’s brain and then labeled certain visual and motor areas. One example would be that he trained the monkeys to open boxes with a latch and then remove portions of the motor area including parts of the eye field. After the monkeys recovered, they were resubjected to the latch opening test, and the monkeys were able to quickly open the boxes. After 30 years of teaching mice and monkeys various visual and motor task, removing parts of the brain, and watching the animals complete the task, he concluded that specific cell populations are not engrams, but instead a distributed network exists for storing memories. All of these tasks were very complicated – a maze, avoiding a white X in a triangle or not depending in the background of the shape. For 30 more years this was the leading idea in the field until 1984, when in a blink of the eye, Richard Thompson changed the field.

Richard Thompson, now professor emeritus of psychology, biological sciences, and neuroscience at the University of Southern California, trained rabbits in what is called eyeblink conditioning, in which the sound of a musical tone is paired with a puff of air to the eye. (Pavlovian Conditioning 101: The puff of air is the “unconditioned” stimulus, because it requires no experimental conditions to produce a behavioral response, the blink. The tone is the “conditioned” stimulus, because only when it is paired with the puff of air will the animal learn to associate the two, producing what then becomes known as the “conditioned response”: a reflexive blink in response to the tone alone that has been produced through the conditions of the experiment.) Rabbits and cats and learn and retain the eyeblink after removal of the hippocampus, neocortex. In a landmark paper published in Science in 1984, Thompson demonstrated that after he trained rabbits and then surgically removed just a few hundred neurons from the interpositus nucleus (a section of the cerebellum, located near the brain’s base), the animals no longer blinked in response to the tone.
The meaning of Thompson’s finding was clear: He had found an engram encoding the association between the puff of air, the tone, and the eyeblink, showing for the first time that the destruction of one particular set of neurons could wipe out one particular memory. “The whole point,” Thompson told me, “is that the memory is localized. The eyeblink conditioning is stored in a small number of cells in a particular region of the cerebellum.”

There are two important portions of the Tet-Off system:

tTA (tetracycline trascriptional activator) – this is a combination of Tet-R, a repressor protein that regulates the genes of Dox-resistance, and VP16, this converts the repressor gene to an activator. In this example, CMV is the promotor: the gene that initiates the entire process. Most transcripitonal activators are DNA binding activators, and this is what happens here with the second important piece:

TRE: tetracycline response element – a response plasmid that responds to the binding of tTA by increasing expression of the gene of interest.

This entire system is based on tetracycline, an antibiotic, but it also works with doxycycline – shown here. In the absence of Dox, this binding takes place, but in the presence of Dox, the binding in inhibited because Dox instead binds to tTA, making it incapable of binding with TRE.

When mice are given Dox (On-Dox): c-fos promoted tTA will bind to the plasmid TRE and this binding will cause expression of the gene of interest, ChR2. Now, where mice are taken off Dox – this binding in inhibited.

Mice have the surgery to implant the AVV and the optical fiber. At this point, mice are ON DOX so that no cells are labeled with ChR2.
Then mice are taken off Dox and allowed to explore chamber A. The neuronal activity of remembering chamber A induces the expression of c-fos and then because no Dox is present, the c-fos cells would be labeled with Chr2 now.
Then the mice are put back on Dox to prevent any further labeling. Mice are then allowed to explore Chamber B where mice are simultaneously given a footshock and shined with blue light. This blue light activated ChR2 – this links the footshock of Chamber B with the Chr2 labeling in A.
Then mice are returned to chamber A or exposed to a novel context C to measure the freezing.

Also, memory recall can be induced for a memory by activating the cells. Wanted to see if this also applied to a false memory, and it does. Recalled the memory by artificially activating the cells.

Line-up Construction: does the suspect stand out? How many fillers are used? Is the suspect the only person who shows up twice in a photo lineup and alineup.

DBS: invasive method that implants brain pacemakers that then send an electrical current to the areas where the implantations are

TMS: Noninvasive and uses a coil to produce a magnetic field. This then induces an electrical current in that target area and this current stimulates axons of neurons.

Exposed post-surgery mice to Context A off Dox so c-fos expressed cells could be labeled with ChR2. Then immediately placed back on Dox to prevent further labeling. Half of the cells were then exposed to context A again or a new context, C. Cell activated by the first context A would be labeled with ChR2, but A’ and C would be labeled with c-fos only because at this point, the mice were Off-Dox. You can see that the degree of overlap for c-fos and ChR2 is much greater for A-A’ than A-C.

Photos and false memories

Other researchers have shown that there’s no need for brain implants and electric shocks to create false memories. Instead, they can be formed in people with little more than stories and photographs.

Professor Elizabeth Loftus, of the University of California, US, is among premier researchers on false memory, and was recently honoured for her work by receiving the American Psychology Foundation’s Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology.

Loftus entered the field through examining eyewitness testimony, and finding that the nature of questioning affected the “facts” that people recalled. Later, prompted by a case involving a woman who apparently remembered repressed memories of her father raping and murdering a childhood friend, she began investigating whether people could “remember” entire events that never happened.

In one experiment, Loftus asked 24 students about four childhood experiences – three of which were real, and supplied by a family member one of which was false, involving them being lost during a shopping trip. Seven of the students remembered being lost, with some even supplying extra details.

Photographs can also play a role in inducing false memories. Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, showed individuals in an experiment a doctored photo in which they appeared to be taking a hot air balloon ride during childhood. Asked to remember details of the trip, fifty percent of participants developed at least partial memories. A later experiment found that stories of the trip were more effective than photos in creating false memories.

Also – editor please take note and add a picture to this column! – there is evidence that people are more likely to remember a newspaper story if it is accompanied by a photo.

Who Is Affected by False Memories?

Loftus's groundbreaking research has shown just how easily and readily false memories can form.

In one study, participants watched video of an automobile accident and were then asked some questions about what they saw in the film. Some participants were asked 'How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?' while others were asked the same question but the words 'smashed into' were replaced with 'hit.'

When the participants were given a memory test pertaining to the accident a week later, those who had been asked the 'smashed into' question were more likely to have a false memory of seeing broken glass in the film.

The Influence of Time

Loftus has suggested that false memories form more readily when enough time has passed that the original memory has faded. In eyewitness testimony, for example, the length of time between the incident and being interviewed about the event plays a role in how suggestible people are to false memory.

If interviewed immediately after an event, when the details are still vivid, people are less likely to be influenced by misinformation. If, however, an interview is delayed for a period of time, people are more likely to be affected by potential false information.