We've all got memories we wish we could view less negatively. Some are trivial, like that drunken display at the office party; some are serious and create genuine psychological challenges. So far, researchers have figured out how to create false ones, or remove them entirely. Now -- in mice at least -- scientists have converted a bad memory into a good one. The researches established good and bad memories in the mice (with food rewards, or light shocks) and recorded the parts of the brain that dealt with the location (hippocampus) of those events, and the emotional recording part (amygdala). To switch the memories, when the mice returned to the location where they received the shock or food, they triggered the location memory of the other event. The mice then displayed behaviours consistent with the opposite memory (quickly moving from, or remaining calm in the current location). While the work gives us a new insight into the mechanics of memory, the process is too complex and invasive for there to be any hope of it being used for treatment of obvious conditions like PTSD. It could however lead to further validation of other therapies (like CBT) that work on similar principles.

[Image credit: rduffy/Flickr]