I would like to know if it's possible for a human to acquire an animal memory.

I mean, animals store their memories in their brain, right? And so do we, humans, store our memory.

So, is it possible to cut off an inch (or something like that) of an animal brain, also to cut off an inch of a human brain, and to replace that animal brain-piece in the missing part of the human's brain?


1 Answer 1


No, it can't be done for a lot of reasons. Here are just a few.

1) Memories are stored in electrical pathways, not the the cells themselves. You don't have 1000 memories in a chunk of brain that contains 1000 neurons. If you don't get the entire pathway, you won't get the memory.

2) Once a nerve is cut, it won't fuse with another cut nerve. All you'll have is a chunk of dying animal brain in your head. Even if a skilled neurosurgeon united the blood vessels of your brain to those of the chunk to keep it alive, the nerves themselves wouldn't become a working part of your brain. All you'd have (at best) is a useless chunk of another animal's brain sitting where your now-missing chunk was.

3) Animals are different from us. Your body would recognize the different-animal brain matter as foreign, and would make antibodies to it and reduce it to mush (if one didn't die of infection before then).

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    $\begingroup$ @ShadowRealm if this answered your question, please indicate as such by clicking the check mark next to it (it will turn green). Please see What should I do when someone answers my question? for more details. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Commented Dec 7, 2014 at 22:45
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    $\begingroup$ Do we even comprehend memory that well? Cause from what I know we don't. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ It's interesting that through the ages, our brains have been compared to the latest technologies. Descartes compared the brain to a hydraulic machine. Freud likened emotions to pressure building up in a steam engine. The brain later resembled a telephone switchboard and then an electrical circuit before evolving into a computer; lately it’s turning into a Web browser or the Internet. But the brain isn't like a computer. If it's wiped, truly wiped of higher functions, we would not be able to reprogram it, or reboot it, or replace it. What was there before would be gone forever. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 21:51
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    $\begingroup$ Is there a citation for the memory stored in electrical pathways? I didn't know human memory was figured out. $\endgroup$
    – vajra78
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ Also instead of transplanting nerves, what if the signals were routed via a wire. The thing is you would need the references from the animal mind. I'm jumping here but I would wager that a complete memory references memories from the sense and emotional regions in the brain. Very much like a relational database. But I wouldn't bet to much money. $\endgroup$
    – vajra78
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 5:13

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