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See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 24, Issue 2

How to Intentionally Forget a Memory

brain



JAMIE CARROLL iStockphoto

Direct Suppression
Try to block out all thoughts of a certain memory.

  • Increases activity in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (orange), which mediates working memory and cognitive control.
  • Reduces activity in the hippocampus (blue), an area important for conscious recollection.

Thought Substitution
Try to forget by substituting the unwanted memory with a more desired one.

  • Increases activity in the left caudal prefrontal cortex (green), thought to decrease saliency of intrusive memories, and the midventrolateral prefrontal cortex (red), which helps to retrieve a specific memory.
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