The brain has a remarkable capacity for keeping track of our past experiences. But detailed memories can sometimes seem more a curse than a blessing. This is especially true for those who’ve suffered significant losses or other traumas. Thus, while the holiday season is meant to be a joyous time, for many it merely provides salient reminders of these debilitating experiences.
Fortunately, researchers are discovering that memories may be far less durable than previously thought. Indeed research on “erasing” traumatic memories is quickly moving from the realm of science fiction to scientifically backed reality.
That each of us may be able to exert some control over what gets in and what then stays in long-term memory arises from our growing understanding of how the brain represents and stores information related to our conscious life experiences.