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AJOB Neuroscience.

Manipulating Human Memory Through Reconsolidation: Ethical Implications of a New Therapeutic Approach

Memories are fundamental to human experience: We are in many ways the products of our pasts, recorded in memory. The influence of memory over current experience is both a blessing and a curse, for just as we find solace in the remembrance of times past, we may also be plagued by pathological memories. Such maladaptive memories are a core feature of several psychiatric conditions, from anxiety disorders to addiction. In this article we present work from our own lab and others that shows the remarkable malleability of human memory, and how the disruption of maladaptive memory reconsolidation is being used for therapeutic purposes. If bioethical concerns about memory modification are to be more than purely hypothetical considerations for the future, they should be grounded in cutting-edge contemporary research. We provide the necessary overview of the field, then raise, challenge, and discuss several old and new ethical concerns.

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Volume 7, Issue 4
December 2016