Sunday, May 21

Old link: Memory

This old Wired article is called The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever. I'm not interested in the angle of the title. I think it would be a bad idea in most cases. But I'm interested in the model of memory presented in the article:
[T]he very act of remembering changes the memory itself. New research is showing that every time we recall an event, the structure of that memory in the brain is altered in light of the present moment, warped by our current feelings and knowledge. That’s why pushing to remember a traumatic event so soon after it occurs doesn’t unburden us; it reinforces the fear and stress that are part of the recollection.
One idea: praying through memories, including forgiveness as part of that process when necessary, could 'rewire' those memories, diminish pain and negative emotion. Interpreted in light of this theory, bitterness can reinforce painful memories and even make them worse.

Here's a quote for those of you interested in therapy:
LeDoux insists that these same principles have been used by good therapists for decades. “When therapy heals, when it helps reduce the impact of negative memories, it’s really because of reconsolidation,” he says. “Therapy allows people to rewrite their own memories while in a safe space, guided by trained professionals. The difference is that we finally understand the neural mechanism.”

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