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Could You Really Implant False Memories in BLADE RUNNER’s Replicants?

Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can: Do you remember your childhood? The memories that make you who you are? If you’re a Blade Runner replicant, those memories may not be your own. That posits a world in which someone can just tell you a story about your life history and you will process it as if it really happened to you. But is it really possible to implant memories into people?

In my latest Because Science, I’m “enhance”-ing my way through decades of psychological research to see if simply asking someone to remember a fake memory that you want to implant will lead to replicant-like results. The science of memory implantation started only a few decades ago, with pioneering researchers like Dr. Elizabeth Loftus attempting to tease out false memories—ones that she tried to insert—from real ones.

It turns out that memory implantation is surprisingly easy. And, more likely than not, you’re a victim of it.

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