Scientists Figured Out How To Destroy Bad Memories, Just Like In ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’


Okay. So this is either really, really cool… or really, really scary. Apparently, researchers over at Uppsala University have been watching one of my favorite movies of all time, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, there is something crazy about that movie ‘coming to life’ via a new scientific method that essentially zaps bad memories from the brain. Crazy, right??? But apparently, the process does have its benefits. Click inside to learn more about today’s That-Ish-Cray Of The Day!

Death and Taxes has the story:

Uppsala University researchers, led by Thomas Ågren, a doctoral candidate at the Department of Psychology under the supervision of Professors Mats Fredrikson and Tomas Furmark, published a study in which they proved newly-formed emotional memories can be erased.

“When a person learns something, a lasting long-term memory is created with the aid of a process of consolidation, which is based on the formation of proteins,” states Ågren in an Uppsala press release. “When we remember something, the memory becomes unstable for a while and is then restabilized by another consolidation process… [b]y disrupting the reconsolidation process that follows upon remembering, we can affect the content of memory.” (Read more about how researchers did it here.)

Ågren emphasizes the positive effects that this type of bio-hacking might potentially have on an individual’s emotional constitution.

‘These findings may be a breakthrough in research on memory and fear. Ultimately the new findings may lead to improved treatment methods for the millions of people in the world who suffer from anxiety issues like phobias, post-traumatic stress, and panic attacks,’ says Thomas Ågren.

Read more here.

Sometimes. Science is just crazy, lol. And it seems like every knew step forward can potentially result in a series of endless– sometimes negative– consequences. For example, this new method may assist those suffering from phobias and PTS (in fact, it’s specifically aimed at erasing fear from the brain) but it could also be used to erase any and all memories, from what I understand. And some people might argue that even a person’s most horrific memories should not be erased or zapped or toyed with at all! So this is really, kind of a big deal.

I’d love to hear what you guys think about this. I’ve got at least 17 memories I could do without (like, seriously) but I don’t know that I’d want them erased for all time. And, if all this turns out anything like Eternal Sunshine it won’t make a difference anyway. The whole point of the movie was that everyone kept falling back in lurve with the very people they erased from their memories! So yeah… maybe these scientists didn’t watch the movie. They should probably watch more movies ;)

Best. Effing. Movie. Ever.


  • Megan

    I definitely have a few mortifying memories from my teens that haunt me but I’d never ‘delete’ them…lessons learnt etc, etc.

    • Shannon

      Megan, I feel the same. Like I said, I think the idea of it all is to help those with memories that are almost debilitating, but I’m also imagining that it might eventually be used for other things.

  • Jess

    There was an article about this in the September edition of Elle magazine! You should see if you can find it because it was really interesting.

    I don’t know how I feel about completely erasing our memories, because I believe a lot of those hard times and mistakes are what push us to do better in the future; but I do agree that a pill that could help ease PTSD in soldiers etc may be a positive in the long run

    • Shannon

      Jess, thanks for the heads up! I’ll definitely see if I can track down the article; I’d love to learn more about this.

  • Megan

    Yea, my first thought was that memories, bad or good, are what makes you who you are. However, I’ve never had to live with PTSD or crippling phobias, so I can’t totally dismiss this. It does make me think of sci fi movies where the government uses this to control the population and stuff. Creepy! lol

  • Yasmin

    I love that movie so much. And I think this new method could really help a lot of people. There are things that happen that you can’t just learn and move on from, things that will haunt you forever and sometimes it’s just not possible to come out a better you. But of course, it is very scary and very dangerous in the wrong hands.

  • Trigon

    This crazy. I was sitting in my room last night wishing the memory erasing method from the movie was real because there is so much bad stuff I want to delete from my mind. I spent so much time thinking about sad things in my past and I don’t know how to stop it. This is something I see as a benefit.

  • Anna

    (I love that movie!)

    It doesn’t sound like old memories can be erased, but rather… “newly-formed” memories.

    It would be interesting to know what the threshold is from newly-formed to there-forever-no-matter-what.

    • Shannon

      Anna, yes. Thank you for bringing us back to the article. The memory would have to be recent, which makes things a little different and more restricted as well.

  • Ruby

    Having had to go through PTSD twice (for different events), 15 years apart, I would welcome this. PTSD is debilitating and, at least in my experience, has no redeeming characteristics. If I could have erased those events from my mind, my life would have been far better for it. I lost YEARS of my life due to recovering from PTSD. I lost important relationships and also my career. I wish this technique had been available to me.

    • Yasmin

      So sorry to read that. I really hope you’re doing better now and I wish you all the best.

    • Shannon

      Ruby thanks so much for sharing this. I think we’re all in agreement that in certain cases and for some people, this could be very beneficial. I think your comment really highlights that idea. Thanks again and I second Yasmin in wishing you the best.