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AFA 5–7: Operation Mind Control

AFA 5: Oper­a­tion Mind Con­trol, Pt. 1
Part 1a 43:31 | Part 1b 43:47 | Part 1c 29:26
(Recorded Sep­tem­ber 25, 1984)

The first broad­cast of a three-part series, this pro­gram cov­ers the suc­cess­ful attempts by U.S. intel­li­gence to develop tech­niques for manip­u­lat­ing indi­vid­ual behav­ior in a man­ner that sub­verts human will and con­scious­ness. The dis­cus­sion focuses on meth­ods of caus­ing peo­ple to com­mit assas­si­na­tions against their will and with­out their con­scious knowledge.

Pro­gram high­lights include: dis­cus­sion of a for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tive who had mind-control devices surgically-implanted in his head and was unable to get them removed; the role of mil­i­tary intel­li­gence in financ­ing the research of Jose Del­gado, a pio­neer in the con­trol of behav­ior through sur­gi­cal implan­ta­tion of elec­trodes in the brain; early mind-control exper­i­ments demon­strat­ing that hyp­no­tized sub­jects can be made to com­mit acts nor­mally repug­nant to them; an insid­i­ous mind-control method­ol­ogy called “RHIC-EDOM” (“radio-hypnotic, intrac­ere­bral con­trol — elec­tronic dis­so­lu­tion of mem­ory”), in which the lev­els of a key neuro-transmitter called acetyl­choline are manip­u­lated in such a man­ner as to cause the “sub­ject” to act with­out con­scious knowl­edge or sub­se­quent rec­ol­lec­tion of acts com­mit­ted while affected by the process; the story of appar­ent for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tive Angel Castillo, pro­grammed with mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ties (some of them devel­oped for assas­si­na­tion oper­a­tions) and allegedly recruited as a back-up shooter for the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy; a U.S. Navy project involv­ing the use of audio-visual desen­si­ti­za­tion to con­di­tion “passive-aggressive” per­son­al­i­ties as assas­sins; an inter­view with a for­mer U.S. gov­ern­ment assas­sin, who dis­cusses suc­cess­ful use of mind con­trol in assas­si­na­tion oper­a­tions and main­tains that the United States has been taken over by the national secu­rity estab­lish­ment; advanced mind-control research directed toward read­ing the human mind.

AFA 6: Oper­a­tion Mind Con­trol, Pt. 2
Part 2a 46:11 | Part 2b 46:56 | Part 2c 44:10 | Part 2d 46:05 | Part 2e 36:24
(Recorded Novem­ber 29, 1884)

Con­tin­u­ing from the point at which AFA-5 left off, this broad­cast begins with analy­sis of the appar­ent role of mind con­trol in this country’s polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions. Wrongly con­victed as the assas­sin of Robert Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan appears to have been the vic­tim of mind con­trol. The broad­cast presents a num­ber of pos­si­ble “pro­gram­mers,” notably Dr. William J. Bryan, trained hyp­no­tist, self-described CIA employee and an indi­vid­ual who may have been involved with pro­gram­ming Arthur Bre­mer (the accused shooter of Gov­er­nor George Wal­lace.) A num­ber of clues point to Bryan as Sirhan’s programmer.

The pro­gram casts asper­sions on the role of Dr. Bernard Diamond’s diag­no­sis of Sirhan as a “para­noid schiz­o­phrenic.” The dis­cus­sion also high­lights the curi­ous “sui­cide” of Oswald han­dler George de Mohren­schildt, shortly before his sched­uled inter­view with staff mem­bers of the House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions. Many (includ­ing fam­ily mem­bers) believe de Mohren­schildt had been hypno-programmed to com­mit sui­cide. (One of the focal points of the CIA’s MK/Ultra mind-control research was devel­op­ing the capac­ity to pro­gram sub­jects to com­mit sui­cide after per­form­ing an assassination.)

The pro­gram also touches on James Earl Ray’s inter­est in and involve­ment with, hyp­no­sis (Ray was the appar­ent patsy in the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King.)

Other pro­gram high­lights include: the CIA’s hypno-programming of famed fash­ion model Candy Jones; the mind-control indoc­tri­na­tion of vir­u­lently racist and anti-semitic atti­tudes into the previously-liberal Candy; attempts to induce Candy to kill her­self when her hus­band (famed talk-show host “Long John” Nebel) began to de-program her; a talk by Joe Holsinger (for­mer leg­isla­tive assis­tant to the late Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Leo Ryan), in which Holsinger cites indi­ca­tions that People’s Tem­ple may have been an exten­sion of the intel­li­gence community’s mind con­trol pro­grams; the role of alleged CIA offi­cer George Phillip Blakey in estab­lish­ing the Jon­estown com­pound; the fact that most of the Jon­estown vic­tims had been mur­dered (they were not sui­cides, as gen­er­ally reported); the pres­ence of large amounts of psy­chi­atric drugs at the Jon­estown site; Tem­ple stal­wart Lawrence Lay­ton, Senior’s activ­i­ties on behalf of the National Secu­rity estab­lish­ment; the pres­ence at Jon­estown of CIA’s Guyanese Sta­tion Chief Richard Dwyer shortly before the mas­sacre began; struc­tural sim­i­lar­i­ties between the People’s Tem­ple and fea­tures of the MK/Ultra program.

AFA 7: Oper­a­tion Mind Con­trol, Pt. 3
Part 3a 47:19 | Part 3b 47:17 | Part 3c 44:56 | Part 3d 46:50 | Part 3e 38:14
(Recorded Jan­u­ary, 1985)

Resum­ing the dis­cus­sion from the end of AFA-6, the pro­gram explores the intel­li­gence establishment’s use of mind-control cults. After indi­ca­tions that the People’s Tem­ple may have been an intel­li­gence oper­a­tion, the pro­gram presents infor­ma­tion about the Rajneesh cult sug­ges­tive of sim­i­lar pos­si­bil­i­ties. Much of the analy­sis focuses on Rev­erend Moon’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Church.

Mr. Emory hypoth­e­sizes that Moon’s orga­ni­za­tion is an exten­sion of the Japan­ese Patri­otic and Ultra-Nationalist Soci­eties, which paved the way for fascism’s rise in Japan through a pro­gram of polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions, intim­i­da­tion, bribery and pro­pa­ganda. Super­fi­cially Korean, the Moon orga­ni­za­tion drew heav­ily on cap­i­tal and man­power from the fas­cist infra­struc­ture of Impe­r­ial Japan. In the United States, the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church is very well-connected to ele­ments of the Amer­i­can intel­li­gence estab­lish­ment and the right wing.

The pro­gram con­cludes with an exam­i­na­tion of the Ananda Marga orga­ni­za­tion, a fiercely anti-communist cult, pur­port­ing to derive from Indian spir­i­tual traditions.

Pro­gram high­lights include: the Nazi antecedents of the Philip fam­ily (involved with Jon­estown); an order to cease iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the dead at Jon­estown given by National Secu­rity Advi­sor Robert Pas­tor to the mil­i­tary com­man­der of the U.S. forces a the mas­sacre site; the piv­otal role of Japan­ese war crim­i­nals Yoshio Kodama and Royichi Sasakawa in the devel­op­ment of the Moon orga­ni­za­tion; Moon aide Bo Hi Pak’s back­ground in the Impe­r­ial Japan­ese Army; the anti-Christian, anti-American ide­ol­ogy of the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church; con­nec­tions of the Moon group to Water­gate Spe­cial Pros­e­cu­tor Leon Jaworski and con­ser­v­a­tive orga­nizer Richard Viguerie; the sus­pi­cious death of Robert Boettcher, a key aide inves­ti­gat­ing the Moon orga­ni­za­tion in con­nec­tion with the Kore­a­gate scan­dal; dis­cus­sion of the Japan­ese Patri­otic soci­eties; the activ­i­ties of Axis spy Subas Chan­dra Bose (the founder of Ananda Marga was a room­mate of his); alle­ga­tions of ter­ror­ism lodged against the Ananda Marga group in India.


4 comments for “AFA 5–7: Operation Mind Control”

  1. Com­ment: The story below posits that James Holmes, the Aurora Col­orado “Dark Knight Shooter”, may have “hyp­no­tized him­self” ... Fur­ther details in the story sug­gest an obvi­ous handler.


    Sun­day, July 22, 2012

    The strangest thing you’ll read all day about the Bat­man killer (Updated)

    Arguably, the post you are about to read is irre­spon­si­ble. Nev­er­the­less, I’ve been think­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity that accused “Bat­man” killer James Holmes has warped his mind by dab­bling in hypnosis.

    I keep mulling over the ABC News report of a video [link: http://abcnews.go.com/US/james-holmes-video-colorado-shooting-suspect-abc-news/story?id=16830653#.UAyJy6ODpw8 fea­tur­ing James, then 18, as he dis­cusses his inter­est in science:

    In the video, he is stand­ing among his peers at a sci­ence camp held at Mira­mar Col­lege in San Diego talk­ing about “tem­po­ral illusions.”

    “Over the course of the sum­mer I’ve been work­ing with a tem­po­ral illu­sion. It’s an illu­sion that allows you to change the past,” Holmes said in the video.
    This is how he was explain­ing his mentor’s shared inter­est in fan­tasy ver­sus real­ity in the video: “He also stud­ies sub­jec­tive expe­ri­ence, which is what takes places inside the mind as opposed to the exter­nal world. I’ve car­ried on his work in deal­ing with sub­jec­tive experience.”

    The ABC New report is badly writ­ten. It does not iden­tify this “mentor.”

    (Update: The men­tor has now been iden­ti­fied. See below.)

    Who­ever he is, his rec­om­men­da­tion must have had some pull — because this bizarre inter­est in chang­ing the past earned Holmes a major fed­eral grant to study neu­ro­science at a highly com­pet­i­tive insti­tu­tion. I’ve heard that fewer than ten stu­dents each year get such a grant.

    To the best of my knowl­edge, the only sci­en­tist who ever tried to do what Holmes pro­posed to do was a famous hyp­no­sis researcher named Mil­ton Erickson.

    * * *

    Many years ago, while wan­der­ing with­out aim through a col­lege library, I ran across a fas­ci­nat­ing book by Erick­son called The Feb­ru­ary Man. In short and in sum, that book dis­cusses a tech­nique of using hyp­no­sis to cre­ate the illu­sion of a past that never actu­ally occurred.

    Although copies of the book are now rare and expen­sive, a sum­mary may be found here [link: http://www.chuckholton.com/synopsis_feb_man.html. I’m afraid that the pre­cis does not do the book justice.

    Basi­cally, Erick­son was deal­ing with a young woman who needed to change her self-destructive behav­ior. As the say­ing goes, “the child is father to man.” Thus, the hyp­nother­a­pist rea­soned that chang­ing the subject’s past — through hyp­notic regres­sion — could change her present.

    [Quote from the book]:

    “In the third inter­view Erick­son spends five hours train­ing her in hyp­notic respon­sive­ness. He regresses her to var­i­ous ages and neu­tral mem­o­ries, includ­ing their first inter­view, into which he “inter­po­lates” a brief hyp­notic episode that did not occur in the actual interview...

    “When Erick­son has estab­lished var­i­ous regres­sions as a “gen­eral back­ground for new, inter­po­lated behav­ioral expe­ri­ences” he rouses her “som­nam­bu­lis­ti­cally in this regressed state.” Erick­son defines som­nam­bu­lis­tic trance as “a form of hyp­notic behav­ior always sig­nif­i­cant of a deep trance state. In this con­di­tion sub­jects behave and respond as if they were wide awake and may even deceive observers with their seem­ing wake­ful­ness.” In her wide-awake four-year-old state, he begins to talk to her and iden­ti­fies him­self as a friend of her daddy’s. After each episode of meet­ing Erick­son while regressed, she is instructed to sleep hyp­not­i­cally, then roused with the wrist cue for another meet­ing with him at a dif­fer­ent age. Finally, she receives “exten­sive posthyp­notic instruc­tions to ensure a com­pre­hen­sive amne­sia for all trance expe­ri­ences” and the ses­sion ends...

    “In sub­se­quent ses­sions, “usu­ally of sev­eral hours’ dura­tion,” Erick­son care­fully inter­po­lates him­self into her regressed mem­o­ries, offer­ing per­spec­tive and “friend­ship, sym­pa­thy, inter­est, and objec­tiv­ity, thereby giv­ing him the oppor­tu­nity to raise ques­tions con­cern­ing how she might later eval­u­ate a given expe­ri­ence.” “The con­sis­tent and con­tin­ual rejec­tion she expe­ri­enced from her mother pre­sented many oppor­tu­ni­ties to reor­ga­nize her emo­tions and under­stand­ing.” He offers ther­a­peu­tic reframes of trau­matic events (she will be able to remem­ber her child­hood grief over a bro­ken china doll when she her­self is a mother, and will be able to under­stand when her own daugh­ter is sad), per­spec­tive (a teenage humil­i­a­tion will one day be looked on as amus­ing), and weaves real happy mem­o­ries in with the Feb­ru­ary Man episodes to insure integration.”

    * * *

    Erick­son called him­self “the Feb­ru­ary Man” because he vis­ited the sub­ject dur­ing every Feb­ru­ary of her life.

    The basic idea here is that all we retain of our past is our mem­ory of it. By using hyp­no­sis to alter those mem­o­ries, we can recre­ate who we are today. By chang­ing the past, we can change our identity.

    Was Holmes propos­ing to carry on Erickson’s work? I don’t know — but at the moment, that’s the only sen­si­ble inter­pre­ta­tion I can offer for Holmes’ words in that video. Under nor­mal cir­cum­stances, a stu­dent isn’t likely to get any major grants if he blath­ers on about “tem­po­ral illu­sions.” Even the SyFy chan­nel wouldn’t con­sider that kind of thing to be sci­en­tific. The money will come only if the stu­dent can cite respected pre­vi­ous work.

    Within the field of hyp­nother­apy, Erick­son was a giant; his name still car­ries great weight. Thus, I won­der if this mys­te­ri­ous “men­tor” had intro­duced the bright young­ster to the work of Mil­ton Erick­son, or per­haps to the work of a hyp­nother­a­pist who did sim­i­lar research. If so — and if Holmes decided to carry out his own stud­ies — he prob­a­bly would have used him­self as a subject.

    It is com­mon for a hyp­nother­a­pist to use imagery drawn from pop­u­lar culture.

    Update: A friend to this blog informs me that the men­tor has been iden­ti­fied. From her comment:

    “This is inter­est­ing: {link:http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-movie-shooting-james-holmes-20120722,0,2746583.story. The guy that’s listed as Holmes’ men­tor in that “tem­po­ral illu­sions” video, John Jacob­son, repu­di­ates the idea that Holmes was “bril­liant” and says that he all but fired him from the research intern­ship pro­gram. He also talks about assign­ing Holmes the task of writ­ing com­puter code for a rock-paper-scissors game–no men­tion of “tem­po­ral illu­sions” at all.

    “... How­ever, in 2002, Jacob­son was sec­ond author of a paper enti­tled “Per­ceived Lumi­nance Depends on Tem­po­ral Con­text” [PDF link: http://papers.cnl.salk.edu/PDFs/Perceived%20Luminance%20Depends%20on%20Temporal%20Context%202004–3355.pdf...”

    Although Jacob­son may have con­sid­ered Holmes a medi­oc­rity, you can’t bull­shit your way into Phi Beta Kappa. The kid must have had some­thing going for him.

    Posted by R. Wilson | July 23, 2012, 6:54 pm
  2. Just found this:


    A long arti­cle about CIA bank­ing houses, “Gang­sters from Argentina and Macau, and a mur­der by an almost cer­tainly “pro­grammed” woman.


    On the morn­ing of Nov. 19, 1985, a wild-eyed and disheveled home­less woman entered the recep­tion room at the leg­endary Wall Street firm of Deak-Perera. Car­ry­ing a back­pack with an alu­minum base­ball bat stick­ing out of the top, her face par­tially hid­den by shocks of greasy, gray-streaked hair falling out from under a wool cap, she demanded to speak with the firm’s 80-year-old founder and pres­i­dent, Nicholas Deak.

    The 44-year-old drifter’s name was Lois Lang. She had arrived at Port Author­ity that morn­ing, the final stop on a month-long cross-country Grey­hound jour­ney that began in Seat­tle. Deak-Perera’s recep­tion­ist, Frances Lauder, told the woman that Deak was out. Lang became agi­tated and accused Lauder of lying. Try­ing to defuse the sit­u­a­tion, the recep­tion­ist led the unkempt woman down the hall­way and showed her Deak’s empty office. “I’ll be in touch,” Lang said, and left for a cof­fee shop around the cor­ner. From her seat by a win­dow, she kept close watch on 29 Broad­way, an art deco sky­scraper diag­o­nal from the Bowl­ing Green Bull.

    Deak-Perera had been head­quar­tered on the building’s 20th and 21st floors since the late 1960s. Nick Deak, known as “the James Bond of money,” founded the com­pany in 1947 with the finan­cial back­ing of the CIA. For more than three decades the com­pany had func­tioned as an unof­fi­cial arm of the intel­li­gence agency and was a key asset in the exe­cu­tion of U.S. Cold War for­eign pol­icy. From hum­ble begin­nings as a spook front and flower import busi­ness, the firm grew to become the largest cur­rency and pre­cious met­als firm in the West­ern Hemi­sphere, if not the world. But on this day in Novem­ber, the offices were half-empty and employ­ees few. Deak-Perera had been dec­i­mated the year before by a fed­eral inves­ti­ga­tion into its ties to orga­nized crime syn­di­cates from Buenos Aires to Manila. Deak’s for­mer CIA asso­ciates did noth­ing to inter­fere with the pub­lic take­down. Deak-Perera declared bank­ruptcy in Decem­ber 1984, set­ting off pan­icked and some­times vio­lent runs on its offices in Latin Amer­ica and Asia.

    Lois Lang had been watch­ing 29 Broad­way for two hours when a lim­ou­sine dropped off Deak and his son Leslie at the building’s revolving-door rear entrance. They took the ele­va­tor to the 21st floor, where Lauder informed Deak about the odd vis­i­tor. Deak merely shrugged and was set­tling into his office when he heard a com­mo­tion in the recep­tion room. Lang had returned. Frances Lauder let out a fear­ful “Oh—” short­ened by two bangs from a .38 revolver. The first bul­let missed. The sec­ond struck the sec­re­tary between the eyes and exited out the back of her skull.
    Deak, fit and trim at age 80, bounded out of his office. “What was that?” he shouted. Lang saw him and turned the cor­ner with pur­pose, aim­ing the pis­tol with both arms. When she had Deak in her sights, she froze, trans­fixed. “It was as if she’d finally found what she was look­ing for,” a wit­ness later tes­ti­fied. Deak seized the pause to lunge and grab Lang’s throat with both hands, press­ing his body into hers. She fired once next to Deak’s ear and missed wide, before push­ing him away just enough to bring the gun into his body and land a shot above his heart. The bul­let ric­o­cheted off his col­lar­bone and shred­ded his organs.

    Deak crum­bled onto the floor. “Now you’ve got yours,” said Lang. A wit­ness later claimed she took out a cam­era and snapped pho­tographs of her victim’s expir­ing body. The bag lady then grabbed the banker by the legs, dragged him into his office, and shut the door.

    She emerged shortly and headed for the ele­va­tor bank, where three NYPD offi­cers had taken posi­tion. They shouted for Lang to freeze. When she reached for her .38, an offi­cer tack­led her to the floor. A sec­ond cop grabbed her arm as the first ham­mered her hand with the butt of his gun. As he jarred the revolver free, she turned into a cow­er­ing child — “like a fright­ened ani­mal,” one of the offi­cers later testified.

    “Please don’t hurt me,” Lang begged. “He told me I could carry the gun.”


    As Kuhlmann trav­eled the world try­ing to repair rela­tion­ships, trace lost assets and solve the mys­tery of Deak’s mur­der, he descended ever deeper into a rab­bit hole. One of his stops was in Macau, where Deak’s office man­ager van­ished with­out a trace after the col­lapse. Kuhlmann entered the paper-strewn offices to find the manager’s girl­friend sit­ting at her boyfriend’s old desk. She opened a drawer and pulled out a photo she’d found there: a grainy black-and-white snap­shot of Nicholas Deak, lying bleed­ing on his office floor, just min­utes from death. The photo, seem­ingly taken by Lang, had never been made pub­lic. Shortly there­after, two of Kuhlmann’s inves­ti­ga­tors reported that Lang had met with two Argen­tineans in Miami before her bus trip to New York.
    In other words, the doc­tor who cared for Lang in Santa Clara was a senior fig­ure at one of the CIA’s top insti­tu­tional grantees. He worked side-by-side with a self-identified CIA col­lab­o­ra­tor, and con­ducted research into the kind of drug-induced behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion that the agency is known to have funded.
    By the early 1980s, Lang drifted north to her birth­place and spent her last free years lurk­ing around the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton cam­pus wear­ing a feath­ered Robin Hood cap. Occa­sion­ally she was arrested and sent to one of the nearby men­tal hos­pi­tals before mak­ing her way back again. A local police offi­cer told the New York Times after her arrest in 1985 that Lang “usu­ally had money,” despite roam­ing “the [uni­ver­sity] cam­pus in unkempt clothes, usu­ally wear­ing a green felt Tyrolean-style hat.” Once the police found more than $800 in her possession.

    As with Stan­ford, the uni­ver­sity employed a military-linked behav­ioral psy­chi­a­trist, Dr. Don­ald Dud­ley, who later became infa­mous for car­ry­ing out exper­i­ments in behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion. Dud­ley taught there from the 1960s through the early 1990s, and also worked at nearby men­tal insti­tu­tions where Lang was peri­od­i­cally com­mit­ted. The land­mark law­suit that ended Dudley’s career revealed that Dudley’s hobby was tak­ing patients brought to him for lesser men­tal ill­nesses, pump­ing them full of drugs, hyp­no­tiz­ing them, and try­ing to turn them into killers.

    We know this thanks to a suit brought by the fam­ily of Stephen Drum­mond, who entered Dudley’s care in 1989 for autism treat­ment. He was returned to his fam­ily in 1992 suf­fer­ing from severe cata­to­nia. Accord­ing to law­suit tes­ti­mony, Dud­ley shot Drum­mond up with sodium amy­tal and hyp­no­tized him with the inten­tion of “eras­ing” a por­tion of his brain and turn­ing him into an assas­sin. When Drummond’s mother con­fronted Dud­ley, the mad sci­en­tist threat­ened to have her killed, claim­ing he worked for the CIA. Dud­ley was arrested soon after the con­fronta­tion in a local hotel where he had shacked up to “treat” a sui­ci­dal 15-year-old drifter. Dud­ley had given the boy sodium amy­tal and sev­eral other drugs, hyp­no­tized him, and con­vinced him that he was part of a secret army of assas­sins. Police were called in when the boy threat­ened hotel staff with a .44 cal­iber hand­gun. Not long after, Dud­ley died in state cus­tody and his estate was forced to pay the largest psy­chother­apy neg­li­gence law­suit in his­tory. Dur­ing the trial, it emerged that Dud­ley had pos­si­bly sub­jected hun­dreds of vic­tims to sim­i­lar exper­i­ments. Lang was not men­tioned.
    Here Kuhlmann pauses for the first time.

    “I know a few more things about them,” he said. “But this gets a lit­tle dicey. I don’t know how to play that game. I don’t want to be the next tar­get.”
    “Lang and the Argen­tineans — it’s like a jig­saw puz­zle,” said Kuhlmann with a sigh. “You have to fill in the miss­ing 30 per­cent. That doesn’t work in a court of law.”


    Fas­ci­nat­ing, with lots of names and linkages

    A cross-over between Bor­mann Nazis from Argentina and Yamashita Gold in Macau?

    Much more at link

    Posted by Swamp | June 28, 2013, 8:56 am
  3. http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/neuroscientists-plant-false-memories-in-the-brain-0725.html

    Neu­ro­sci­en­tists plant false mem­o­ries in the brain

    MIT study also pin­points where the brain stores mem­ory traces, both false and authen­tic.
    Anne Trafton, MIT News Office

    July 25, 2013

    The phe­nom­e­non of false mem­ory has been well-documented: In many court cases, defen­dants have been found guilty based on tes­ti­mony from wit­nesses and vic­tims who were sure of their rec­ol­lec­tions, but DNA evi­dence later over­turned the conviction.

    In a step toward under­stand­ing how these faulty mem­o­ries arise, MIT neu­ro­sci­en­tists have shown that they can plant false mem­o­ries in the brains of mice. They also found that many of the neu­ro­log­i­cal traces of these mem­o­ries are iden­ti­cal in nature to those of authen­tic memories.

    “Whether it’s a false or gen­uine mem­ory, the brain’s neural mech­a­nism under­ly­ing the recall of the mem­ory is the same,” says Susumu Tone­gawa, the Picower Pro­fes­sor of Biol­ogy and Neu­ro­science and senior author of a paper describ­ing the find­ings in the July 25 edi­tion of Science.

    The study also pro­vides fur­ther evi­dence that mem­o­ries are stored in net­works of neu­rons that form mem­ory traces for each expe­ri­ence we have — a phe­nom­e­non that Tonegawa’s lab first demon­strated last year.

    Neu­ro­sci­en­tists have long sought the loca­tion of these mem­ory traces, also called engrams. In the pair of stud­ies, Tone­gawa and col­leagues at MIT’s Picower Insti­tute for Learn­ing and Mem­ory showed that they could iden­tify the cells that make up part of an engram for a spe­cific mem­ory and reac­ti­vate it using a tech­nol­ogy called optogenetics.

    Lead authors of the paper are grad­u­ate stu­dent Steve Ramirez and research sci­en­tist Xu Liu. Other authors are tech­ni­cal assis­tant Pei-Ann Lin, research sci­en­tist Junghyup Suh, and post­docs Michele Pig­natelli, Roger Redondo and Tomas Ryan.

    Seek­ing the engram

    Episodic mem­o­ries — mem­o­ries of expe­ri­ences — are made of asso­ci­a­tions of sev­eral ele­ments, includ­ing objects, space and time. These asso­ci­a­tions are encoded by chem­i­cal and phys­i­cal changes in neu­rons, as well as by mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the con­nec­tions between the neurons.

    Where these engrams reside in the brain has been a long­stand­ing ques­tion in neu­ro­science. “Is the infor­ma­tion spread out in var­i­ous parts of the brain, or is there a par­tic­u­lar area of the brain in which this type of mem­ory is stored? This has been a very fun­da­men­tal ques­tion,” Tone­gawa says.

    In the 1940s, Cana­dian neu­ro­sur­geon Wilder Pen­field sug­gested that episodic mem­o­ries are located in the brain’s tem­po­ral lobe. When Pen­field elec­tri­cally stim­u­lated cells in the tem­po­ral lobes of patients who were about to undergo surgery to treat epilep­tic seizures, the patients reported that spe­cific mem­o­ries popped into mind. Later stud­ies of the amne­siac patient known as “H.M.” con­firmed that the tem­po­ral lobe, includ­ing the area known as the hip­pocam­pus, is crit­i­cal for form­ing episodic memories.

    How­ever, these stud­ies did not prove that engrams are actu­ally stored in the hip­pocam­pus, Tone­gawa says. To make that case, sci­en­tists needed to show that acti­vat­ing spe­cific groups of hip­pocam­pal cells is suf­fi­cient to pro­duce and recall memories.

    To achieve that, Tonegawa’s lab turned to opto­ge­net­ics, a new tech­nol­ogy that allows cells to be selec­tively turned on or off using light.

    For this pair of stud­ies, the researchers engi­neered mouse hip­pocam­pal cells to express the gene for chan­nel­rhodopsin, a pro­tein that acti­vates neu­rons when stim­u­lated by light. They also mod­i­fied the gene so that chan­nel­rhodopsin would be pro­duced when­ever the c-fos gene, nec­es­sary for mem­ory for­ma­tion, was turned on.

    In last year’s study, the researchers con­di­tioned these mice to fear a par­tic­u­lar cham­ber by deliv­er­ing a mild elec­tric shock. As this mem­ory was formed, the c-fos gene was turned on, along with the engi­neered chan­nel­rhodopsin gene. This way, cells encod­ing the mem­ory trace were “labeled” with light-sensitive proteins.

    The next day, when the mice were put in a dif­fer­ent cham­ber they had never seen before, they behaved nor­mally. How­ever, when the researchers deliv­ered a pulse of light to the hip­pocam­pus, stim­u­lat­ing the mem­ory cells labeled with chan­nel­rhodopsin, the mice froze in fear as the pre­vi­ous day’s mem­ory was reactivated.

    “Com­pared to most stud­ies that treat the brain as a black box while try­ing to access it from the out­side in, this is like we are try­ing to study the brain from the inside out,” Liu says. “The tech­nol­ogy we devel­oped for this study allows us to fine-dissect and even poten­tially tin­ker with the mem­ory process by directly con­trol­ling the brain cells.”

    Incept­ing false memories

    That is exactly what the researchers did in the new study — explor­ing whether they could use these reac­ti­vated engrams to plant false mem­o­ries in the mice’s brains.

    First, the researchers placed the mice in a novel cham­ber, A, but did not deliver any shocks. As the mice explored this cham­ber, their mem­ory cells were labeled with chan­nel­rhodopsin. The next day, the mice were placed in a sec­ond, very dif­fer­ent cham­ber, B. After a while, the mice were given a mild foot shock. At the same instant, the researchers used light to acti­vate the cells encod­ing the mem­ory of cham­ber A.

    On the third day, the mice were placed back into cham­ber A, where they now froze in fear, even though they had never been shocked there. A false mem­ory had been incepted: The mice feared the mem­ory of cham­ber A because when the shock was given in cham­ber B, they were reliv­ing the mem­ory of being in cham­ber A.

    More­over, that false mem­ory appeared to com­pete with a gen­uine mem­ory of cham­ber B, the researchers found. These mice also froze when placed in cham­ber B, but not as much as mice that had received a shock in cham­ber B with­out hav­ing the cham­ber A mem­ory activated.

    The researchers then showed that imme­di­ately after recall of the false mem­ory, lev­els of neural activ­ity were also ele­vated in the amyg­dala, a fear cen­ter in the brain that receives mem­ory infor­ma­tion from the hip­pocam­pus, just as they are when the mice recall a gen­uine memory.

    These two papers rep­re­sent a major step for­ward in mem­ory research, says Howard Eichen­baum, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy and direc­tor of Boston University’s Cen­ter for Mem­ory and Brain.

    “They iden­ti­fied a neural net­work asso­ci­ated with expe­ri­ence in an envi­ron­ment, attached a fear asso­ci­a­tion with it, then reac­ti­vated the net­work to show that it sup­ports mem­ory expres­sion. That, to me, shows for the first time a true func­tional engram,” says Eichen­baum, who was not part of the research team.

    The MIT team is now plan­ning fur­ther stud­ies of how mem­o­ries can be dis­torted in the brain.

    “Now that we can reac­ti­vate and change the con­tents of mem­o­ries in the brain, we can begin ask­ing ques­tions that were once the realm of phi­los­o­phy,” Ramirez says. “Are there mul­ti­ple con­di­tions that lead to the for­ma­tion of false mem­o­ries? Can false mem­o­ries for both plea­sur­able and aver­sive events be arti­fi­cially cre­ated? What about false mem­o­ries for more than just con­texts — false mem­o­ries for objects, food or other mice? These are the once seem­ingly sci-fi ques­tions that can now be exper­i­men­tally tack­led in the lab.”

    The research was funded by the RIKEN Brain Sci­ence Institute.

    Posted by Vanfield | July 25, 2013, 8:11 pm
  4. Dr. William J. Bryan was also involved in the Boston Stran­gler Case and was also a mem­ber of the Old Catholic Ortho­dox Church like David Fer­rie, who was also an hyp­no­tist and told to Judyth Vary Baker that he took part in the project of Mind Con­trol by the CIA

    Posted by Patrick | August 29, 2013, 5:11 am

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