It sounds like something straight out of the Jim Carey movie, "Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind," however this is something other than fiction. As reported in the April 2012 edition of Psychology Today, there's considerable evidence showing that memories can be erased.
From drugs that specifically target certain memories, to behavioral changes that help sufferers to cope with traumatic past experiences, to "disarmed" viruses that focus on derailing the neural networks holding negative associations, there's a whole host of new procedures, experiments and treatments currently under review. But is it ethical, and if so, would people actually chose to erase their painful pasts?
For me personally, my memories are a huge part of who I am, and even if some are negative, I want to keep them. I've grown, learned and created so much during trying times, and that's separate from the fact that I've written my best work about or during particularly challenging life events. It's rarely easy, and I've definitely needed help to get through my difficult times, yet that doesn't mean I'd change, erase, or otherwise alter them.
But, what about you? If you had the opportunity, would you choose to erase the memories of a difficult breakup, abusive relationship, or other negative dating experience that you'd rather not have experienced? Why or why not?
Source: Chant, I. (2012, March/April). Wiping the slate: Is playing with memory humane - or is it just plain wrong?. Psychology Today, 45(2), 14.