title Memory Pill
description “Lesley Stahl reports on a controversial treatment using the [beta blocker] pill propranolol to help suppress traumatic memories.” Stahl says, “It turns out our memories are sort of like Jell-O…” but it does get better. Here’s more info, and even better, the neuroethics of this treatment in the paper Therapeutic Forgetting: The Legal and Ethical Implications of Memory Dampening by Prof. Adam Kolber. From the abstract: “…traumatic events frequently lead to legal proceedings that rely on memories of those events. Drugs that dampen traumatic memories may someday test the boundaries between an individual’s right to medically modify his memories and society’s right to stop him from altering valuable evidence. More broadly, I respond to the Council by arguing that many of its concerns are founded on controversial premises that unjustifiably privilege our natural cognitive abilities. While memory dampening may eventually require thoughtful regulation, broad-brushed restrictions are unjustified: We have a deeply personal interest in controlling our own minds that entitles us to a certain freedom of memory.”
producer 60 Minutes
featuring Roger Pitman
Via Kolber’s Neuroethics and Law Blog.
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Last reviewed: 12 Dec 2006