The article by Anderson, C & Levy, Benjamin (2009) titled “SuppressingUnwanted Memories” focuses on neurological responses by the brain and in particular, how individuals can cope with current memories, erase them if they are unwanted and focus on other thought patterns. It is particular pertinent to the field of neuroscience as there are many beliefs, which are focused on the inability of individuals to regulate their brain patterns. However as this paper argues and suggests, individuals can pursue a number of different cognitive strategies that can assist them in erasing or even suppressing unwanted memories.
The first very useful and well known strategy is a response override and forcing people into overcoming persistent thoughts and memories that lower their mood, morale or sense of belief and esteem. It firstly focuses on the stimuli that is causing these known thoughts and memories. The stimuli may be an experience in the past or even something that has been self created as a means of invoking fear or an unwanted memory. This stimuli can better managed by this article by focusing on another memory or even establishing a known stimuli that can force other thoughts into the human brain. For example, exercise is a way of suppressing memories and thoughts and can serve as a major brain distraction. When the body exercises, different parts of the brain become engaged and memory can simply become second nature and be manipulated in such a way that forces the person to solely focus on the exercise or duty at hand. This is also proposed with respect to keeping individuals busy with work and developing a number of other well known strategies.
The article also suggests that memories in the brain can be effectively shut down, mostly via the same strategies proposed earlier in this paper. Memory lands can be interrupted via different activities and routines and also via stimulation of certain regions of the brain. The article proposes that this area of neuroscience requires more research prior to tests being conducted on humans.
This type of research has a lot of importance with respect to my current life and job. It allows me to focus on one task at hand rather than being distracted with memories, which may be unpleasant. It also allows me to consider different forms of distractions that can stimulate different areas of the brain. I believe that there are many scenarios or instances where we want to forget about past memories and things that we have done in order to move on. These suggested strategies in the text are real in nature and allow people to move on and to essentially erase bad memories from their brain. Furthermore, real life experiences will also incorporate some bad memories that need to be erased and it must be realized that bad memories can have a detrimental impact on the way we live, how we perform at work and also interact with loved ones and family and friends.
There are a number of questions with regards to the study presented by the article. The first is whether future research will enable any individual to erase memories given that everyone is different and generates different responses to respective stimuli? The second question is in regards to whether there will ever be a winning formula that allows humans to instantly erase or suppress bad memories without much effort at all? These questions are all pertinent to real life situations experienced by most people in society.
- Anderson, Michael, Levy, Benjamin. Suppressing Unwanted Memories. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 18(4). Text. 5 Dec 2015.