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Scientists implant false memories in mouse’s brain

Fans of the blockbuster film "Inception" will recall corporate conman Leo DiCaprio's dream-bending antics where he infiltrated the subconscious of his targets with implanted memories.

Mind control has long been the domain of Hollywood and science fiction, but new memory-implanting research on mice by Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists may be the first step in unlocking the mystery of false memory syndrome.

Using a technique called optogenetics, Nobel laureate and neuroscientist Susumu Tonegawa and a team of MIT researchers manipulated individual cells in the mouse hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory formation, to make them responsive to light.

In the experiment, several mice were placed in a chamber glowing with reddish light and allowed to explore. The next day, they were placed in a second chamber and given electric shocks on their feet to encode a fear response. Scientists also shone light into their brains, activating memories of the first chamber.

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