News Stories

Memory May be Genetic

We know that we inherit genes from our ancestors, but can we inherit their memories? This happens among animals and insects: Birds are born with their migration patterns within them and the Monarch butterfly, for instance, makes a long trip every year from North America to a small, 23-acre plot in Mexico, even though it may take 3 generations to make the trip one way.

What about humans? We've noticed that the Visitor experience tends to run in families, but even if their parents were "experiencers," children don't actually inherit their MEMORIES of these events (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to these provocative interviews).

Familiar smells trigger memories, which is the reason why the loss of a sense of smell is a warning sign. Many contactees who remember their Visitor experiences describe smelling a particular odor.

To test how memories are enhanced by smell, researchers showed volunteers a group of short films depicting unpleasant--yet memorable--events, such as car crashes. While the volunteers were watching the videos, perfume was sprayed into the room, colorful lights were displayed on a wall, and soft music played in the background.

When the team questioned the volunteers a few weeks later, they found that the people who noticed the smell had much more vivid memories of the videos. The colors triggers their memories as well, but the music did nothing to stimulate remembrance.

The team then followed up with the volunteers a week later, exposing them in turn to the cassis odor, the lights and the music as they asked questions about the video they had seen a week earlier. The researchers found that when smelling the cassis odor or seeing the same colorful lights they’d noticed when watching the videos, the volunteers described their memories of the things they’d witnessed on the videos as much more vivid. They also found that exposure to the music however, was comparable to not having any of the stimuli offered at all as they answered the questions.

In the August 21st edition of the New York Times, Doreen Carvajal writes about psychiatrist Darold A. Treffert, who has a registry of about 300 "savants" who, through a head injury or dementia, acquire skills, such as music, mathematics, art or calendar calculating, that they never learned. He thinks these skills must have been buried deep in their brains, in what he calls "genetic memory"--a "huge reservoir of dormant knowledge that can emerge when a damaged brain rewires itself to recover from injuries."

She quotes him as saying, "How is this (knowledge) possible? The only way that knowledge can be there is through genetic transmission."



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