But researchers are trying to implant memories into living beings.
Vulcan mind-melts and magic wands or hypnotism are ways in which people share memories in fictional films and TV shows.
But such fantastical ideas could soon become a reality, using electrodes implanted in the brain.
Neuroscientists have already begun trying implants that boost memory loss, and in the future they believe these implants could be used to replicate memories in the brains of others.
Research teams from the University of Southern California and University of Pennsylvania have been testing the technology on epilepsy patients. These patients already have electrodes implanted in their brains, which means the experts didn't need to insert the prostheses in new patients through risky brain surgery.
The research centers on the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped part of the brain associated with the formation of memories. The hippocampus gathers sensory information that is then transformed into short-term memories, between 15 and 30 seconds. These can then form more lasting memories, but only if they are accessed while the hippocampus is storing them. This seems to be the portal for long term memory creation.
People with significant memory deficits typically have a damaged hippocampus. Scientists are trying to restore memory loss to patients with a damaged memory center.
The USC team, led by brain implants expert Ted Berger, was interested in two particular areas of the hippocampus, called CA3 and CA1. Researchers thought that an electrical signal travelling from CA3 to CA1 was key to memory formation. Therefore, they tried to recreate a similar signal in order to restore the hippocampus' functionality. To do this, the researchers monitored the brain of 12 epilepsy patients performing a memory exercise that included memorising pictures to see how CA3 and CA1 interacted.
Eventually, they developed a mathematical model to predict the pattern of the signal CA3 would fire to CA1. The predictions were correct 80 per cent of the time. The USC team's idea is that brain implants could provide electrical stimulation resembling that key CA3 signal to improve memory in patients with hippocampus damage.
Once scientists can create a connection to the hippocampus, and send signals that the patient can understand and remember, it is a logical conclusion that the signals can be enhanced to the point of adding visual and audio information. It would be like a direct imput of a VR movie straight into your memory banks.
The odd thing is that your brain will not realize that this is not "a real, personal memory." And that is why LOST theorists think the complexity of the brain in creating real memories caused many continuity errors in the series because the "forced" new memories did not take or conflicted with real events.