What do you think?
In her lab, Josselyn is working to find a way to delete, or at least dampen, the fear associated with traumatic memory.
Current research says a memory is located in various parts of the brain. The neurons, or brain cells, that are encoded with the fear are in one part of the brain while other parts of the memory are elsewhere.
Josselyn, working with rodents in the lab, is developing ways of locating the group of neurons that hold the fear. Once she has that, then she hopes to target just those cells chemically and disrupt their ability to keep that fear encoded.
“We’re not there yet,” she says, but “we’re certainly getting close in rodents.”
“I think one day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to delete a memory.”
And there is an ethical hurdle. Some ethicists believe that deleting memories deletes a vital part of a person’s identity.
“It’s those emotions that tell you who I am,” says Dr. Francoise Baylis, who holds the Canada Research Chair in bioethics and philosophy at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Baylis cautions that deleting even the worst of a person’s memories can interfere with the sense of self.
She does not want people to suffer, but she says learning how to deal with the fear and anxiety can produce strength.
Also check out: Hit Delete, radio discussion on the above issue.