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Photographic Memory (In Pill Form)

Illustration for article titled Photographic Memory (In Pill Form)

Researchers have discovered that increasing production of a protein called RGS-14 could significantly boost visual memory. They are currently investigating the exact effects on humans, but all I can think is: Photographic memory in pill form.

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Sure, we don't really know how the human brain would be affected, but there are certainly great results with mice already:

Mice with the RGS-14 boost could remember objects they had seen for up to two months. Ordinarily the same mice would only be able to remember these objects for about an hour.

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The only trouble if similar effects occur in humans and if the magic memory pill of my dreams could be created is that there would have to be a counterpart for forgetting. Because sometimes there are things you really don't want to remember all too well or all too long. [Science Mag via io9]

Image from Idea Champions

Memory [Forever] is our week-long consideration of what it really means when our memories, encoded in bits, flow in a million directions, and might truly live forever.

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DISCUSSION

arewethereyeti-old
AreWeThereYeti

Oh man, another example of a really cool idea that will turn out to be a really bad idea in practice.

Current brain research is indicating that forgetting is absolutely critical to high-level thinking- you have to focus on the important stuff, not just remember everything, and forgetting helps you get rid of the unimportant noise so you can focus on what is important.

Anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the downside of a photographic memory should read "The Mind of a Mnemonist" by Alexander Luria, who studied a guy with one of the most amazing memories of all time. That book was the first time that anyone looked scientifically at someone like that as a whole person, to see how his ability affected his life.

The poor guy could hardly function. If he tried to read a poem, every word he read would remind him of every time he had heard that word before, and he would get lost in all the associations. He was absolutely unable to understand abstract writing like that.