Erasing memories, selectively
A news story in leading scientific journal Nature caught my eye today. Those clever people in white coats have managed to erase a specific memory in lab rats in a selective fashion. Of course, it's a long way from rat brains to the jelly-like substance sloshing around in our skulls, but it's an interesting finding nonetheless.
It reminds me of the wonderful recent film Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, where Lacuna Inc. offered to remove all the memories relating to a particular person you wanted out of your life - a rather more challenging task.
One of the frustrating things about our memories of specific wines, is that they don't seem to be coded in a particularly accessible address in the brain. It would be wonderful if we could relive 1970 Latour in much the same way that we can hum our favourite tune, or recreate in our mind's eye that view from the top of a mountain we enjoyed on our last skiing trip.
It seems, though, that our memories for smell are only reawakened when we revisit a similar smell in the present, and then they tend to be tied to emotions - one sniff, and the memories all come flooding back. It's quite a powerful experience, but at least for me a relatively rare one.