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Every time we bring back an old memory, we run the risk of changing it. It’s more like opening a document on a computer – the old information enters a surprisingly vulnerable state when it can be edited, overwritten, or even deleted. It takes a while for the memory to become strengthened anew, through a process called reconsolidation. Memories aren’t just written once, but every time we remember them.
fed their volunteers with false information immediately after they had actively remembered what they had seen. Then, and only then, did the new memories overwrite their old ones.
Twenty minutes later [after watching the pilot and either taking a quiz or playing Tetris], they listened to a short audio recording that supposedly recapped the episode, but that secretly changed some details—for example, swapping Mandy’s syringe for a stun gun. Five minutes later, everyone took a final true-or-false test about what they had originally seen.
taking the quiz destabilised the volunteers’ memories of what they were quizzed on, paving the way for the false recap to mess with their knowledge. This worked even when volunteers correctly remembered what happened in the episode during the first quiz—the incorrect audio still changed what they thought they knew.
Chan and LaPaglia have now used the reconsolidation window to change declarative memories—facts and knowledge that we consciously recall.
Originally posted by Liquesence
Now, how long before this is used for sinister means? For some of the more conspiracy-minded folks, who needs MKUltra when you can take a completely innocent person and insert/change/rewrite a new memory of an event, such as a party to an assassination?