We're still a far ways off from the kind of memory erasure portrayed in the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but a recent experiment has just taken us one step closer. By using electroconvulsive therapy on depressed patients, scientists were able to disrupt their ability to recall emotionally jarring events.
Every time we recall a memory we have to take it out of our mental storage banks. According to theory, these memories have to be re-written back onto the brain's circuits each them they're accessed. It's an imperfect process called memory reconsolidation, and it's the crucial idea behind a recent experiment conducted by Marijn Kroes and his colleagues from Radboud University Nijmegen.