It seems the future has already come - the robots are almostgained their own consciousness, and people learned to transfer the thoughts of one living creature into the brain of another. Scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center were able to implant other people's memories into the brains of songbirds, teaching the finches a song that their parents usually teach. Researchers believe that such unusual results of the experiment one day can help lead to a better understanding of the conditions under which the development of human speech is impaired.
Is it possible to introduce other people's memories into the organism of a living being?
Finches are small songbirds, quitecommon in Western Europe. They are united with people by the unique ability to teach young singing skills with the direct help of their parents. So, listening to the singing of their fathers, young birds memorize the notes and repeat them, practicing again and again.
Knowing that finches have this ability,American researchers carried out the so-called optogenetic manipulation of birds, in which light was used to monitor and control brain activity. In other words, scientists controlled the interaction between the two areas of the brain in order to create memories of the syllables of the song, where the length of the note corresponded to the length of the light exposure.
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Researchers argue that instead of implantationinto the bird’s brain of the song itself, they introduced only the length of the syllables to the finches. In the event that scientists can discover other patterns that control various aspects, such as pitch and word order, they can potentially implant the memory of the whole song in the bird's brain. So, studying the forms and methods of behavior in the development process, imitating the behavior of our immediate environment, we automatically accept them ourselves, often without even realizing it. At the same time, our brain circuits involved in the construction of certain memories of skills acquired in the process of social realization are still poorly understood.
Studies on young songbirds showthat the individual parts of the brain that connect the sensory and motor chains play one of the most important roles in the formation of various types of memories. Artificial activation of such connections in the brain can help future scientists create memories that can coordinate the learning of not only animals and birds, but also humans.
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Scientists believe that such an approach is unlikelybe used in humans for memory implantation, as such experiments will have tremendous ethical consequences. However, the experience with finches can help us understand the conditions in which developmental disorders cause speech problems. Thus, an unusual experiment may well become the key to understanding the occurrence of autism, impaired speech learning, or social behavior.