Positive memories could help fight stress-induced depression, a new study finds.
The study may answer whether negative memories can really be overwritten with positive ones.
For the research, scientists artificially reactivated positive memories in mice.
They found that these could suppress the effects of negative memories previously implanted.
For the study, male mice were given a positive experience: exposure to a female mouse.
The scientists were able to ‘tag’ this experience in the brain, so it could be reactivated later.
Then, the mice were given a stressful experience which put them into a depression-like state.
Afterwards light was used to stimulate a part of the brain to reactivate the positive memory of the female mouse.
The male mice quickly recovered from their depressed state.
Not only this but the positive memory continued to protect the mice from depression over the longer term.
The study was published in the journal Nature (Ramirez et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
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