Could that be possible? Atleast for SOME people?


closed as too broad by Aify, L.Dutch, Mołot, Secespitus, SilverCookies May 29 '18 at 7:58

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding. Please note this is not the usual forum where one drops a high concept and then the discussion starts. Here we provide focused answer to precise questions/problem. Your post sounds more like a seed for an open discussion, not like you have a problem looking for a solution. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch May 29 '18 at 7:06


Fear of specific things can be passed on to children and grandchildren of mice. So that's something.

In a series of tests, scientists gave a shock to mice while those animals smelled the scent of orange blossoms. Quickly, the rodents came to expect another painful shock as soon as they smelled the flowers’ scent.

Making such a fearful link was expected.

What proved surprising, though, was that the children of shocked mice — and even their grandchildren — also showed fear when they smelled orange blossoms. None of these offspring had ever received a shock during their smell tests. And orange blossoms didn’t scare mice whose parents and grandparents had never received a shock. Only the young of shocked mice expressed fear at the scent of these flowers.

The working theory is that the mice somehow encode the memory in their genes. This isn't so much a working memory as just the genes that would detect the scent of orange blossoms are increased and always on. So these aren't true memories.

Now that is the main theory they're still trying to confirm it. For a story idea you could say that with some special and very memorable event, a child or grandchild could be more likely to pick up similarities and remember them. So a particular scent, image, noise, etc will make them think they vaguely remember an event. It won't be an actual memory, but it will be affected by it.

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    $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35, fears are part of an animals memories. I agree that going from fear of something to out and out memories is a big stretch, but other than saying, "nope not possible" it's the closest we can come to giving it a chance. $\endgroup$ – Dan Clarke May 29 '18 at 7:28
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    $\begingroup$ While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. - From Review $\endgroup$ – Mołot May 29 '18 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot, I'll improve it in the morning. $\endgroup$ – Dan Clarke May 29 '18 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ It's perhaps worth noting that the authors of that study don't believe that an actual behavioral response is being inherited by the mice, but rather that the mice are inheriting an increased sensitivity to the conditioned smell. $\endgroup$ – Mike Nichols May 29 '18 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeNichols, yeah, I edited my answer to better suit that part. I definitely wrote my original response too quickly. $\endgroup$ – Dan Clarke May 30 '18 at 6:15

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