This scientist wants to implant false memories while people sleep

A U.S scientist is raising money to research whether it’s possible to implant false memories in someone’s brain, like in the movie Inception. (Spoiler alerts run out after a year or two, right?)

I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of films I wouldn’t mind spending some time in. Sure, I’d get stressed out shadowing Marty McFly in Back to the Future II, but it would all be worth it for a sweet ride on that hoverboard. And sure, I know it’s an evil, indie-bookstore destroying conglomerate, but I’ve always wanted to snag a cookie, hot chocolate and the biggest armchair available at You’ve Got Mail’s Fox Books. Inception, though? That’s not half as inviting.

But Iliana Vargas, a PhD student at Northwestern University who specialises in the neuroscience of memory, is undaunted. She’s using crowdfunding research site to try to raise $6000 to conduct a small study. (At the time of writing, she’s up to $1,350 with 16 days to go.) And as kooky as trying to implant false memories might sound, it does have some scientific precedent. Researchers have already proved that they can confuse mice into thinking that bad memories were good, and vice versa. But being able to alter people’s memories while they sleep is some next level stuff, and it remains to be seen whether Vargas’ goal turns into a horrible nightmare, or remains a pipe dream.

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Diane Shipley