Cartoon of the MIT-Riken experiment. In the left-hand box, the mouse learns the safe environment. In the center box, the same mouse learns a new environment, then is shocked while the neurons associated with learning the safe environment are activated optically. Finally, when the mouse is placed back in the safe environment, it associates that environment with the shocks, rather than the environment in which the shocks were actually administered (Image: Riken)
MIT neuroscientists identified the cells (highlighted in red) where memory traces are stored in the mouse hippocampus (Photo: Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu / MIT)
An ongoing collaboration between the Japanese Riken Brain Science Institute and MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has resulted in the discovery of how to plant specific false memories into the brains of mice. The breakthrough significantly extends our understanding of memory and expands the experimental reach of the new field of optogenetics.
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