Psychiatry

Movie fans also get memory lesson

UNMC Research Director and Child Psychiatrist Dr. Soonjo Hwang (right) moderated a panel discussion on memory and emotion with UNMC neuroscientists Dr. Vaishali Phatak (center) and Dr. David Warren (left) on June 5 at the Ruth Sokolf Theater.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fans packed Ruth Sokolof Theater for a special showing of the cult classic and then stayed for a discussion on memory.

UNMC Research Director and Child Psychiatrist Dr. Soonjo Hwang moderated a panel discussion on memory and emotion with UNMC neuroscientists Dr. Vaishali Phatak and Dr. David Warren.

The 2004 movie follows Joel (Jim Carrey), who is stunned to discover that his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of their tumultuous relationship erased. Out of desperation, he decides to have Clementine removed from his own memory. But as Joel’s memories progressively disappear, he begins to rediscover his love for Clementine.

Following the movie, crowd members asked about the possibilities of a procedure being done and ethics of such a procedure. Dr. Warren said such a procedure is not possible and ethics plays a key role in all memory research.

Dr. Hwang said he was honored to serve as moderator.

“I am a board member of Film Streams, and also a community committee member as well,” Dr. Hwang. “I think it is important to have meaningful conversation about science via the media of art, including films. Films are a powerful tool to invoke emotion, thus combining them with relevant topics of science is a very effective way of educating and engaging the public in science.”

The movie was shown as part of “Science on the Screen,” which is an innovative series that creatively pairs classic, cult and documentary films with lively talks led by notable figures from the world of science, technology and medicine.

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