Saint John — Faculty of Psychology chair Dr. Brenda Srink was left scrambling when she saw the UC Davis Faculty of Psychology publication on memory erasure in mice (touted as the first of its kind) on Friday, Oct. 10. The Manatee has learned that her own research team had experienced a far more successful lab trial than they could have ever hoped for 3 weeks earlier. Unfortunately, they can’t remember how they did it.
“We’d been working on the exact same procedure for over 3 years,” said Dr. Srink. “Our researchers were conducting the very first test on a live subject when apparently the device being used backfired and erased the memories of the entire team. They can’t remember a damned thing!”
The complicated procedure makes use of bright flashes of light to erase portions of a subject’s memory. While memory erasure using this procedure is intended to be fairly simple, targeting specific memories is anything but. It would seem that the erasure technique, initially thought unfit for human testing, works much better than anyone could have anticipated.
The Manatee spoke with Dr. John Bailey, the researcher responsible for publishing the findings, at the kitchen table in his home in nearby Rothesay. “The last thing I remember is listening to that awful new Taylor Swift song on my drive to work — my daughter loves it,” he said, nervously rubbing the suede elbow patches of his olive tweed jacket. “I was supposed to publish our findings at least 2 weeks before the UC Davis team, but it looks like I forgot.”
Dr. Bailey thoroughly explained how the procedure works. “You see, first you have to take the mouse, and then you take the thing we built and do something with that thing. This prepares the mouse for the erasure. Then you have to take the light and press the button on the thing again … Or something like that, I think.”
Our reporter was forced to cut the interview short at this point, as Dr. Bailey seemed to get lost in his own thoughts, absentmindedly drawing circles in the air with one gnarled finger while stroking his scruffy unkempt orange beard with the other hand. “Come back!” he yelled beseechingly at our reporter as he exited the house. “Come back…”
Not all members of the team were as lucky as Bailey. Graduate student Homar Mupashi is set to undergo months and possibly years of rehabilitation after completely forgetting his identity and replacing it with one that his mind has fabricated.
“He thinks he’s mayor Mel Norton’s brother,” explained memory rehabilitation expert Dr. Joseph Williams. “We’ve had to remove him from the mayor’s doorstep 6 times in the past week; he keeps trying to leave Mr. Norton small gifts. Like a cat or something. It helps that Mayor Norton has been very understanding throughout this whole ordeal.”
For now, UNBSJ’s Faculty of Psychology is trying to get its research team back on their feet and back in the lab. They’re hoping to find a way to spin this as the first successful memory erasure test using a human test subject, if only somebody could remember how to write a technical publication.