Selective memory does exist: Scientists
London: Want to forget those embarrassing
moments completely? Well, you can do so by repressing those
memories for a longer period, scientists say.
Researchers at the Lund University in Sweden found
that selective memory really exists and people can train their
minds to erase all their unpleasant memories by suppressing
them for a longer period.
Using EEG scans, the scientists noted the parts of
study participants` brains became active when actively trying
to forget something.
They were also able to pinpoint the exact moment a
memory is "forgotten", and claimed that long-term suppression
of a memory is a sure fire way of permanently erasing it, the
Daily Telegraph reported.
Mastering the technique could be useful for people who
suffer from depression or post traumatic stress disorder, the
"We know that `forgotten` or repressed feelings often
manifest themselves as physiological reactions," said study
author Gerd Thomas Waldhauser.
"Our volunteers were trained to forget neutral
information in a controlled laboratory environment. Training
to forget a traumatic event would be more complex."
The study has not only shown that one can deliberately
forget things, through EEG measurements, the researchers have
also managed to capture the exact moment when the memory is
inhibited, that is when the forgetfulness is imposed.
Waldhauser said: "The inhibition of memory eases off
after a few hours. But the more often information is
suppressed, the more difficult it becomes to retrieve it."
"If the memories have been suppressed over a long
period of time, they could be extremely difficult to
retrieve," he added.