The brain can be taught to forget memories - but it is much more difficult than remembering new ones.

Modern psychiatry has long faced a serious problem: how to teach people to forget negative memories? How to get rid of the burden of the past, from the fears and anxieties that have taken place and are imprinted in the memory of people who now prevent them from living? It has been proven that with certain efforts a person can "erase" part of his memories, but how exactly does this mechanism work?

While past work has focused on areas of the brain responsible for long-term memory, a new study from the University of Texas (USA) focused on the ventral temporal cortex. She is responsible for processing sensory and perceptual information, including memories of visual images. It was here that the highest brain activity was recorded during the experiments, when the participants were asked to purposefully forget something.

Scientists have figured out two things. First, it is quite possible to “forget”, to destroy memories for a conscious reason. Secondly, it is extremely difficult to do because of the person's inability to control the level of brain activity. If you "overextend", then a strong impact will only strengthen the memory, and if you relax too much, then you can miss the target memory, while it will not go anywhere and, on occasion, will remind you of itself. You need a moderate, focused level of brain activity, akin to the state of meditation, and only then is success possible.

It turned out that when “forgetting” the brain erases not the memory as such, but a combination of sensory perceptions, its reaction to an event that took place in the past. At the same time, it turned out to be easier to forget general scenes and situations than, for example, the actions of people. This is due to the fact that with personal contact, a strong and multifaceted emotional component is added, and therefore it is much more difficult to remove such an extensive layer of sensations and memories.