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September 24 2013

Fear memories can be overcome during sleep, researchers say


It can take only an instant for fear to take hold in the brain: a fear of snakes after being bitten by one, or anxiety around bodies of water after witnessing a drowning.

Overcoming that fear can take a long time, but now researchers are saying it can be done in your sleep. Scientists at Northwestern University say they have lowered levels of fear in people by using certain odors to trigger and rechannel frightening memories into harmless ones during a deep slumber.

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