• Sweden edition
 
Swedish research proves Sigmund Freud right

Swedish research proves Sigmund Freud right

Published: 04 Jul 2011 12:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Jul 2011 12:16 GMT+02:00

According to new research from Lund University, in southern sweden, it is possible to control and even deliberately forget memories.

This new knowledge could be life-changing for patients suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

“(Freud) was right in that there is a particular way we can control our memory,” Psychology researcher Gerd Thomas Waldhauser told The Local.

The idea that humans can control their memories erupted in controversy within the field ever since the great Freud argued it in the early 1900s.

Freud's theory was based on major assumptions while new theories, better theories, emerged related to childhood memory supression and memory development.

“He had no experimental evidence and at that time there was a big debate going on about the reconstruction of repressed memories not always being correct,” Waldhauser said.

"In our laboratory, we can now show that intentional attempts to forget, or suppress particular information or experiences can indeed lead to later forgetting."

The major breakthrough is finding that the brain uses the same area for inhibition of memory as it does for inhibition in motor skill response.

"It's quite important to have established this link. It hasn't been done before, it hasn't been known," said Waldhauser, who added that his findings resulted from very controlled experiments with results tough to explain otherwise.

Using word association and the electroencephalogram (EEG), a sophisticated brain imaging technique, Waldhauser proved that the same area of the brain which controls motor impulses and selective attention is activated when a person attempts to forget something.

For example, if a person sees a flower pot falling from the table, they will reflexively catch it; however, if it is a falling cactus, they will choose not to catch it.

"This link means that people can actually train themselves to forget memories that are too overwhelming or intrusive just like they can train themselves how to physically react," said Waldhauser, who has worked with various theories and experiments related to this find for six years.

The experiment involved hours of word association work, asking participants to learn random material such as "car is to banana". Once thoroughly learned, they were told to no longer remember certain word pairings while retaining others through repititious testing.

"We found that the words we asked subjects to forget, such as banana, were remembered less or forgotten more than words we did not ask them to supress," explained Waldhauser to The Local.

Although he said more research is needed regarding the long-term outcome of forgetting traumatic memories, such as the physiological effects, the Lund researcher already suggests a few clinical benefits of such a find.

"It might be a helpful intervention tool in the short term for people dealing with depression or post-traumatic stress. It can help them gain back control of their memories," Waldhauser said.

People suffering from depression might be helped by learning to forget certain aspects that keep them spinning in a vicious cycle of negative thinking patterns, thus helping them break the circle.

The same idea can be applied to post-traumatic stress syndrome patients who are so overwhelmed with traumatic memories that it interrupts their daily living.

Waldhauser told The Local that thus far his research has been positively received amongst his global peers.

Karen Holst (kholstmedia@gmail.com)

Your comments about this article

19:38 July 4, 2011 by zeero
How come simple things that everyone know about always need a lot of money and confirmation in SE.. mmm...
07:45 July 5, 2011 by karex
@zeero That's not because it's Sweden, that's because it's science and that's how you satisfy scientific requirements.
08:46 July 5, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
They just discovered the luke warm water, the hole for the doughnuts, the black thread and the cups for leftys. All with our taxes.

By the way, Mrs. Karen Holst, in English, when you write the name of a country, you write it with a capital letter at the beginning. So, it is not "in southern sweden", but "in southern Sweden". Got it? Your article is a very bad mixture of the inverted pyramid technique for writing news. I wonder where The Local finds its staff.
09:00 July 5, 2011 by Rick Methven
@J L Belmar

Criticism of the the author of this post on her writing from one who is incapable of stringing together a sentence that is understandable or grammatically correct.

Pot calling the kettle?
10:59 July 5, 2011 by Max Reaver
this kind of research is a waste of tax payers' money
12:24 July 5, 2011 by salalah
This experiment would have been fun to watch..

"Do you remember a banana?"

-Nooooo????
12:09 July 6, 2011 by cogito
@Rick # 4

Some posters write in their second or third language.

The author of the article, on the other hand, calls herself a journalist. Therefore some familiarity with grammar and punctuation is to be expected.

Surely even you are capable of understanding that posters who do not have English as their first language are not required to write perfect English in an informal discussion.

And since you are such a linguistic perfectionist, shall I list the dozens of examples of your own illiterate posts?

Several of your howlers are much worse than the poster you are bashing.

Pots, kettles....
18:31 July 6, 2011 by T Mann
@ J. L. Belmar (Professor Higgins perhaps).

As you lecture people on writing in English, I'd love to see how you write in Swedish!

By the way, Professor: It is LUKEWARM and not luke warm !!! (Luke is only used as a noun: name or evangelist - or adjective meaning evangelistic).
15:35 July 8, 2011 by jglammi
This was not Freud's theory.
16:27 July 8, 2011 by Ron Pavellas
Now I have to forget all these comments.
09:59 July 19, 2011 by Akane
interesting
06:50 July 26, 2011 by Da Goat
Bugger I have forgotten what I was gonna write!
Today's headlines
Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours now'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours now'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pense, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Israeli ambassador Isaac Bachman. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

UPDATED: Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador from Stockholm, after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

989
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN