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medically speaking, mental health

Morning After Pill 2.0: For Bad Dating Memories?

You’re a lucky one if you’ve never come in contact with someone with “selective memory or listening”. (Those that do it on purpose to be rude.) The repercussions of that reality can be complicated enough without adding intentional devices into the mix that are designed to block out and remove moments of your life.

Amnesia is a real thing. And I doubt anyone who’s actually had it has found this to be a pleasant reality. Lacunar amnesia is a real thing too. It’s “the loss of memory about one specific event. It is a type of amnesia that leaves a lacuna (a gap) in the record of memory.”

Is the notion of selective amnesia something to support? Well some people certainly think so.

This type of amnesia is used as a plot element in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which a company (appropriately named Lacuna) offers the service of having a specific person erased from someone’s memories by removing all memories of them.

According to Steven Johnson, (the author of Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life):

“Scientists believe memories are captured and stored by two separate parts of the brain, the hippocampus, the normal seat of memory, and the amygdala, one of the brain’s emotional centers. People who, due to hippocampus damage, are incapable of

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

forming long-term memories can still form subconscious memories of traumatic events if their amygdala is intact. Someone suffering from the Memento condition would likely have a feeling of general unease encountering a person who had harmed them in the past, though they wouldn’t be able to put their finger on why. As the plot of Eternal Sunshine correctly suggests, the brain is designed to preserve emotionally strong memories. Even amnesiacs, under the right circumstances, can remember their past feelings.”


The procedure in the film while yes is fictional, it’s not for lack of trying. Researching are definitely working on it. “Recent research has shown it is possible to successfully erase selective memories in lab mice. Such a procedure may lead to cures of post-traumatic stress. There was an episode of Season One of the This American Life TV and radio show dedicated to the science behind this, the findings from which were released shortly before the film was made.


Reading this snippet in the April 2012 print issue of Marie Claire magazine startled me. Forget that the, “the brain is designed to preserve emotionally strong memories.” Let’s create some intentional blind spots in our memories! Puh–leeze! :



About maggie.

Maggie Barnes is a nonprofit and for profit business content specialist / social media consultant; and social sciences web writer interested in everything from psychology and sexuality, to technology, race, and economics. She is passionate about good communication and information accessibility.


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