We actually now know whether memories are conceptual or physical.
Researchers were involved in this process to find the state of memory after knowing that they are stored somewhere. But, the question was ‘where?’.
Memories are stored in specific brain cells.
This was proved by MIT researchers recently. They also proved that by triggering a small cluster of neurons, they were able to force the subject to recall a specific memory. And by removing these neurons, the subject would lose that memory.
Just by triggering a cluster of neurons, they were able recall a subject’s specific memory.
To conduct this experiment, MIT researchers bred special genetically-engineered mice with so-called optogenetic neurons (neurons that can be controlled with light). This in itself is exciting as the human brain functions in the same way as mice. But we have to wait a little longer for MIT researchers to implement this optogenetic experiment on humans.
It was possible to make mice get defensive by triggering a negative memory.
To create a fear memory, mice were given an electric shock in the hippocampus region of the brain; then later, using laser light, they activated the neurons where the memory was stored. The mice then quickly entered in a defensive, immobile crouch – which strongly suggests that the fear memory was being recalled.
So, we finally know that memory stored in specific brain cells is physical and conceptual! You may be able to get rid of your worst memory, if you have any!
Here you can understand the whole experiment done by MIT researchers and it’s result in detail: