New Quarantine, New Me: The Neuroscience of Habit Change

Optimise yourself during the societal demise

Writer: Alexandra Gilbert 
Editor: Elly Chaw
Artist: Lia Bote

In times of uncertainty, anxiety, and crippling boredom, we face the prospects of using this period of isolation to improve our daily routines, garner new habits, and reform the old, menacing ones. Maybe start yoga, get back into art, or finally enforce a healthier sleep routine?

After all, if there’s ever a time to nurture healthy habits, it may as well be during the most devastatingly tedious apocalypse of our century.

How habits and goal-directed behaviour function in decision-making

Our decisions are informed largely by two distinct habitual and goal-directed systems.

Habits have the capacity to shape who we are as people. Alcoholism is one example, and so is that daily morning run we all aspire to, and so is uselessly opening the fridge when walking into the kitchen.

Although habits extend their influence at…

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Journalism, Neuroscience

Memory editing: from the Matrix to Medicine

Towards altering our concept of fear and addiction

Writer: Alexandra Gilbert
Editor: Rachel Rubinsohn
Artist: Will Ning

The red pill that bestows the terrifying truths of reality or the blue pill that provides stability and safety; which would you pick?

During the Matrix movies, the main character, Neo, must choose between two worlds, each pill altering his memory either in favour of a virtual reality, or a devastatingly authentic one. Here, the writers of the movies raised a tantalising question: what if we could erase, or edit, our memories?

Other than blocking out cringey high school moments, there are plenty of clinical reasons why we might want to edit our memories. Forgetting the craving cues characteristic of drug addictions and painful pasts in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are a top priority in the field, along with dabbles in memory enhancement for educational purposes.

Despite the attractive (or unattractive) sentiment, the…

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