Memories are a wonderful thing. When you think about it, they kind of make up your whole identity. But, man, talk about limiting! We have to carry them in these lousy meatbag bodies.

Let's use our {{phlebotinum}} to fix that. Memories aren't just things you hold in your head anymore. They can now [[LaserGuidedAmnesia be deleted]], [[FakeMemories manipulated]], sold, [[BrainUploading backed up in case of death]], [[ExpositionBeam shared with the world]], or [[MemoryGambit kept secret]] even [[NeuroVault from yourself]].

This trope is most popular as a central issue in a plot and it's easy to see why. Memory manipulation brings some pretty heavy issues to the forefront. [[LossOfIdentity Are we people without our memories]]? By removing them, do we indirectly kill a part of ourselves, or others? If memories are interchangeable, are we really [[NotSoDifferent any different]] from [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman machines]] who [[OpeningACanOfClones upload and back up data in the same way?]]

Alternatively, this trope can also be used simply as a clue in a mystery. Being able to acquire a [[TheRashomon reliable]] narration of how events actually happened goes a long way toward giving us a definitive answer.

Compare LiquidAssets, GeneticMemory, MemoryJar and PowersAsPrograms. See also BrainUploading, where some or all of the subject's personality is copied/transferred along with the memories. May be used in MemoryGambit. This trope can intersect with GhostMemory if memories from one person are copy-and-pasted into another.



* ''Anime/{{Kaiba}}'' takes this trope on front and center. Only the privileged can afford effective memory treatment, and on many planets the poor sell their good memories (and sometimes bodies) to make ends meet. We're introduced early on via newscast to a group of known terrorists who sabotage memory treatment facilities, but little is elaborated on that topic until [[spoiler:about halfway through Kaiba visits a memory theme park. When it closes down, several memories scream to be taken out of their misery as they're forced to remain in a state of not-quite-life-or-death. The elderly patrons Kaiba was with just thought it was AllPartOfTheShow]].
* In ''Anime/TheBigO,'' memories are a MacGuffin.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'', immortals can transfer memories to other immortals by placing their right hand on the recipient's head and willing it. Of course, since this is ''also'' the method immortals use to ''kill'' each other (the only difference being what you think when you're doing it), most potential recipients aren't willing to take the risk.
* Pakunoda, a membress of the Genei Ryudan in ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', can copy her memories into bullets and then transfer those memories to other people by shooting them in the head (Memory bullets don't inflict physical injuries). [[spoiler: When Kurapika grabs and ensnares her with his Nen Chains, he tells her that if she uses this power to give her companions hints about their leader Chrollo, she will die. [[NotAfraidToDie Pakunoda does so anyway]].]]
* Tsukimiya from ''Manga/BloodyCross'' is a {{Dhampyr}} who can read people's memories by drinking their blood.
* Characters in ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' often store memories in external storage devices via their [[BrainComputerInterface cyberbrains]], it's apparently a similar mechanism to that which hackers use to insert FakeMemories.
* In ''LightNovel/KumoDesuGaNaniKa'' [[spoiler:Shiraori]] eventually determines that her memories of her life as [[spoiler:Wakaba Hiiro]] aren't her own. They were transferred into her by [[spoiler:Evil God D, the real Wakaba Hiiro. D took pity on Shiraori's original self, a simple spider, and gave it her memories to help her]].
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', the Memory-Memory Fruit (Memo Memo no Mi) allows its user to view any person's memories and make any changes to alter them. The current holder of such a fruit is [[spoiler: Charlotte Pudding, one of Big Mom's daughters.]]

* The ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fanfiction ''Fanfic/TheOllivanderChildren'' has an Obliviator as a main character, who deals with transferable memories as a matter of course.
* The VideoGame/{{Fallout}} / WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic FusionFic ''Fanfic/FalloutEquestria'' makes frequent use of "memory orbs" as a form of ApocalypticLog. As well as [[spoiler: a MemoryGambit by the protagonist]].
* In FanFic/DividedRainbow, Twilight Sparkle's five Element Bearing friends transfer memories with one another, causing huge shifts in their personalities.

* In ''Film/BladeRunner'', Rachel is given memories copied from Tyrell's niece to improve her emotional stability.
* The original ''Film/TotalRecall1990'', as well as its source material ''We Can Remember It For You Wholesale'' uses these as a central plot point. The memories in question are intended to give a person the illusion of having had an exciting vacation on Mars without incurring the extreme expense of such a trip. A central plot point is how these memories can possibly have any sense of being genuine if the man who "owns" them knows that they're false- this leads to the movie's central ambiguity as to whether the uncovering of Quaid's secret agent memories is real, or whether they simply must ''appear'' to be real to make the memories seem plausible. This differs from other incantations of the trope, where the internal consistency of conflicting memories is rarely at issue, largely because characters know the difference between their implanted memories and their real ones.. [[spoiler:Some people consider this a clue that Quaid's experiences are real.]]
* Dr. Schriber of ''Film/DarkCity'' implants FakeMemories into people's heads with syringes, and he's later seen concocting the fluids that make up these memories.
* In the ''Film/{{Underworld}}'' movies, vampires can access the memories of other vampires by drinking their blood. This is used by Vampire Elders to catch up with the events that transpired while they were in torpor.
* ''Film/{{Criminal}}'': An experimental procedure is used to put deceased CIA agent Bill Pope's memories into the brain of sociopathic convict Jericho Stewart.

* Creator/KeithLaumer's ''A Trace of Memory''. An amnesiac alien living as a human on Earth must recover the device in which his full memories are stored. He later discovers that on his home planet almost everyone has this problem.
* The [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Yuuzhan Vong]] from the Literature/NewJediOrder can literally manufacture memories. Usually this is used as a way to learn new skills quickly, but with time and careful application can also [[MindRape overwrite entire personalities]]. For the latter, though, as it requires a very complex set of memories, it's easiest to just use someone's preexisting ones rather than grow a whole new set, however.
** The gentle Caamasi can make memories of important events into a ''memnis'', an especially vivid memory that can be telepathically transferred between related Caamasi, and which are passed down like family photos. ''Memnii'' can also be transferred to Jedi that are good friends with Caamasi, who can use the Force to share them further.
* Physical memories appear in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series with the [[ Pensieve]]. Interestingly, the existence of these objects is revealed a book before readers find out about wizards' ability to force their ways into other minds, which requires the use of Occulumency to guard against. It turns out that extracting memories from a person willingly to use later is a decidedly less evil use of these skills. Skilled wizards can draw their own memories out of their heads - they take the appearance of silvery wisps of an almost cloud-like string.
* The Rambosian aliens of Creator/JasperFforde's ''Literature/NurseryCrime'' series are filled with a fluid that keeps their memories. The keep jars of this fluid, and regularly back them up with newer memories. If they suffer some fatal misfortune, they can be patched up, refilled and returned to life.
* A MagicMirror in Literature/TheElricSaga story ''Elric of Melnibone'' steals memories from people.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', the Iskoort aliens have a technology that allows them to buy people's memories; and the alien explaining this technology is quick to reassure the Animorphs that they don't lose their own memories, it just means making a copy of their memories. These copies of human memories turn out to be very useful, because it seems that [[spoiler: when they force their OmnicidalManiac enemies the Howlers to experience the memories of a human, this [[HumanityIsInfectious makes the Howlers not only cease to be "pure evil," but it's so much of an impurity that the Howlers's evil master is no longer able to use them]].]]
** The Helmacrons are also really close to this, since their minds are fungible and when one dies, the mind is absorbed by the rest of the group.
** When Jake is infested by the Yeerk that once controlled his brother, the Yeerk's memories of its hosts are dumped into Jake's memory as the Yeerk is dying of starvation.
* In ''Literature/TheWorthingSaga'', the cold sleep used to enable starflight has the unfortunate side effect of completely wiping a person's memory. The solution, spheres which record this and replay it into the subject's brain.
* Creator/RichardKMorgan's ''Literature/TakeshiKovacs'' series introduces the "stack", a cigarette-filter-sized implant at the base of the brain. It contains a complete record of the user's personality and memories, which can be backed up, sent elsewhere, or installed in a new body (aka "sleeve"). If your body dies but the stack is not destroyed, you can be revived. As an added bonus, a human brain is the only thing that can readily make use of the information in a stack, so even if others get access to your backups, they can't view/edit your mind in cut-and-paste fashion. Your memories can only be recovered by creating another "you" in the process. The novels come complete with a very large and well-thought-out list of the technology's consequences.
* A Creator/StrugatskyBrothers short story involves the attempt to store the mind of a dying great scientist. The story goes into detail about the limitations of this new technology. The entire town is blacked out and perpetual storm clouds block out the sunlight in order to remove any EM interference. The "town" is actually made up of large warehouses holding a special substance that can contain vast amounts of data. After all, it's not just the information from brain cells but also the neurons that link these brain cells, and neurons that link those neurons, etc. The experiment is a partial success, as the man expires with 2% of his mind still unrecorded. Additionally, the scientists performing the experiment have no idea what to do with the stored memories, as they have no way to actually interpret the information. The idea is to eventually develop the means to allow people to live on as electronic entities, but that is far off.
* One of ''Literature/TheHistoryOfTheGalaxy'' novels has a scientist/politician create a device that probes the mind of a person and downloads the memories. He mentions that it would normally be a very difficult process to figure out how to interpret the memories, but the fact that there was a war on allowed him to convince the top brass to fit each soldier with such probe, coupled with a camera. Then all he had to do was analyze the millions of probe scans with their respective video footages to create a "dictionary" of sorts. In ''Black Moon'', he is able to use the device to extract memories of a group of frozen Delphons. However, he hits a wall in attempting to decode the data, as no computer is capable of doing that. He then downloads the memories of a Delphon into the mind of a human, hoping the human brain is powerful enough to interpret the alien memories. It works.
* As shown in ''Literature/TheForerunnerSaga'', the Forerunners of ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' could transfer memories and experiences so perfectly into another person's mind that they essentially become the person they're copied from. When [[spoiler: Bornstellar]] is given [[spoiler: the Ur-Didact's]] memories and returns to the latter's wife of thousands of years, she treats him no differently than she would her husband, even though she knows full well what's happened.
* The Dreamweavers from ''Literature/TheAgeOfTheFive'' can 'link' to swap memories. Ironically, the best way to avoid having your personality drowned out by link memories is... more linking.[[note]]Or more accurately, the ritual of asserting of one's identity at the end of a link session.[[/note]]
* The Memory Bulbs from Jeff [=VanderMeer's=] ''[[Literature/{{Ambergris}} Finch]]'' allow the Graycaps to access the memories of recently deceased individuals. You simply sprinkle some spores on the corpse, wait for awhile for the fungoid bulb grow from their head and then [[{{Squick}} eat it]]. The experience is extremely confusing, at least for humans, trying to perceive range of events in a non-linear fashion, like picking them up randomly from the air. Since the memories always belong to a dead person, experiencing the memory of their deaths can be traumatic, as well. But worst of all, sometimes the process simply goes wrong when a human ingests the bulb; one detective's body breaks down into a mass of spores after going through the process one too many times.
* ''Literature/TheGiver'' transfers memories to Jonas. Also, those memories can be transferred to the general population if something happens to the Receiver.
* In Creator/WenSpencer's Literature/UkiahOregon series, the Pack and Ontongard can both transfer memories between themselves by drawing out blood and handing the [[AlienBlood resulting animal]] to another member to be absorbed.
* In SA Swann's Literature/{{Apotheosis}} series, Uploaded minds can be downloaded into either {{AI}} level computers or living brains. The colonists of Salmagundi download the minds of their ancestors as a religious observance.
* Creator/LarryNiven's novel ''Literature/WorldOfPtavvs''. A human telepath mindreads a much more powerful alien telepath. Identity confusion and plot result.
* A variation in Creator/MikhailAkhmanov's ''Call of the Abyss'' duology. After the first manned expedition arrives in orbit of Mars, the psychic among the crew begins to see vivid visions of historical events from the viewpoint of someone else. Centuries later, an areostationary station is established over the spot where the visions come through with an alien psychic channeling them onto recording devices. Anyone can then play these visions back in his or her mind by sitting on a special chair. At first, it's assumed that these are recordings of Earth made by aliens over millennia. Then they find out that the visions diverge from our history at some point during the Renaissance, meaning they are actually sent by humans from an AlternateReality. The vision in question is that of Charles Babbage inventing the first vacuum tube computer in the 19th century. The main "vision" of the first novel is the life of an Ancient Egyptian named [[ Unamun]], whose journey to Byblos is verified via a papyrus in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The second book is focused on the vision of the life of a 17th century English {{Privateer}} named Peter Shelton.
* The jewel [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]]'s mother left to him contained a specific set of her own memories: [[spoiler: the ways and paths she learned through the Nevernever]].
* In the ''Literature/JacobsLadderTrilogy'', Exalts store copies of their memories in their nanomachine colonies. They can trade memories by exchanging pieces of their colonies.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The New ''[[Series/TheTwilightZone Twilight Zone]]'' episode "[[ The Mind of Simon Foster]]". A homeless man must sell his memories to survive.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'': "Thanks For The Memories", Lister gives Rimmer his memories of one of his past relationships. It goes so badly that the entire crew have their memories of the past few days erased.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Angel's explanation is that when a person is vamped, the vampire demon gets their memories and body, but not their soul.
** Slayers inherit memories of previous slayers, albeit through dreams.
* ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'' A very central concept, along with the ability to transfer and back up etc personalities.
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', [[CelestialParagonsAndArchangels seraphs and archangels]] have the ability to read, delete, edit, replay, or straight-up create fake memories.
* The [[Recap/BlackMirrorTheEntireHistoryOfYou third episode]] of ''Series/BlackMirror'' focuses around a device called a Grain. It records memories and is capable of replay with all kinds of features like zoom, crop, reconstruction. You can also share memories with people and there is a black market for people's grains.
* A planet visited in the ninth season of ''Series/StargateSG1'' developed a device that allowed memories to be copied from one individual and transferred to another, but not changing what happened in existing memories. They could delete memories, too, although this wasn't the primary function of the device.
* [[Series/DoctorWho The Doctor]] does this in one episode to help explain what's going on to his temporary companion. By headbutting him.
* ''Series/TheNewAvengers'': In "Three Handed Game", a device is invented that allows memories and skills to be transferred from one mind to another. It is stolen by a mercenary who intends to use it to steal espionage secrets. When the Avengers get too close, he uses it to transfer his mind to anew body.
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''.
** In "Random Thoughts", an ostensibly peaceful telepathic race has a black market in violent thoughts. The Crisis of the Week occurs when [[HairTriggerTemper B'Elanna Torres has a violent thought]] illicitly stolen, which leads to a murder for which B'Elanna is held [[ThoughtCrime legally responsible]].
** In "Remember", B'Elanna Torres finds herself experiencing {{Erotic Dream}}s of an alien love affair. The dreams quickly become DarkerAndEdgier and it becomes obvious she's actually experiencing the memories of a DarkSecret that's been repressed in that society.

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The Thought Bottle, an item that appeared in ''[[ Tome of Magic]]'', does exactly this. Possible uses as a relatively secure data medium or MemoryGambit prop were mentioned.
** In ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' tel'kiira ("elven lore-gem") are memory storage devices used as write-at-will personal logs and spellbooks, normally usable only by elves and worn mostly by nobility. Physically, it's a little gem stuck on the forehead of its wearer, most of the time sunk in and not visible. An "Ancestral" lore-gem is worn by generations of heirs of a noble House has a value much like the flag of a military unit: not waved around in vain, and losing it counts as a major disgrace. One particular elven kingdom that was so xenophobic that it didn't allow other species into its capital once knighted a human just for returning one of these to its new rightful wearer, past their guards. Variants include books of elven advanced magic, secret agents' tools and occasional hybrids with other enchanted gems, up to Ioun stones turned into [[AttackDrone semi-sentient defensive spellgems]].
** In the {{Ravenloft}} setting's domain of Darkon, the darklord Azalin has a library of self-writing books that document the lives of all that nation's residents. If a non-Darkonese stays within the domain too long, their original memories are supplanted by those of having been born and grown up in Darkon, and a book documenting their ''real'' history appears in Azalin's library.
** The Society of Sensation in the ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' setting purchases memories from adventurers to stock their library. Anyone who visits them can then pay to "view" the memory as though experiencing it themselves. The goal of the Society is to allow everyone to experience everything, so the library allows their members to experience things they either can't or won't do themselves.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' there are several means of memory transfer. The most obvious is the celestial exaltations themselves, given that a celestial exaltation is a recycled part of god-soul that holds aspects of all its former incarnations. The other is dream stones and other memory crystals. These can be found in tombs or on the black market (dream stones are apparently nearly as addictive as the [[MemeticMutation Xbox of the gods]]). Makes sense when you realize that the mortal vessels needed to be brought back up to snuff relatively quickly in order to deal with the [[EldritchAbomination Primordials]] or they'd pretty much be reduced to glittering fodder.
* From ''TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion'', we get the Mnemoi and their Arcanos, Mnemosynis, the sole purpose of which is to transfer and manipulate memories. In a place where memories are important for maintaining one's existence, the Mnemoi are far from welcome, and are therefore one of the three Forbidden Guilds. [[spoiler: In actuality, the Mnemoi are using their talents to store the memories of Charon for [[RightfulKingReturns his return]], and the whole persecuted thing [[FakeDefector is a ruse]]. One that, sadly, works a bit too well in the end.]]
* ''TabletopGame/InNomine'' has Memory Pearl artifacts which are pearl-like objects that can be used to remove/store memories, often used {especially by demons} to remove inconvenient knowledge from a temporary employee/associate often as part of the terms of employment.
* "Slinkys" (Sensory links) in ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} TabletopGame/TranshumanSpace'' are technically recordings of one's experiences while their "upslink" implant is active, but they fill the same function.
* "[=XPs=]" (Experience Playbacks) in ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' are essentially the same thing as slinkys. Though one with the "mnemmonic augmentation" implant can make them from archived memories stored in their [[BodyBackupDrive cortical stack]].
* A central part of ''TabletopGame/{{Mindjammer}}'' is the Mindscape, essentially an entire wireless Internet devoted entirely to storing and sharing "exomemories". The name of the setting even comes from the starships used to keep the Mindscape up-to-date across interstellar distances (FTLTravel but no communications).
* While [=MemoMax=] technology was really just intended to explain why ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' characters can retain their memories and personalities even after being replaced by their own clones, later editions would explore some of the ''darker'' implications of the technology.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A [[MindScrew truly bizarre version]] of this occurs in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''. [[spoiler: Xion is a whole character made out of memories.]]
** In ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance'', [[spoiler:Roxas meets with Sora in a dream and transfers the memories of his life into Sora.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'': One of Jenova's abilities is copying the form and memories of other beings. Just knowledge of this is used to great advantage by Sephiroth to [[MindScrew give Cloud even more psychological problems than he already had.]]
** If one compares the "Sephiroth in the reactor" cutscenes of [=FFVII=] and ''VideoGame/CrisisCore'', one comes to the conclusion that Cloud has memories of things that happened to Zack when he wasn't there. This makes his accidental identity theft much less embarrassing, since apparently Project S genuinely put some Zack in him.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'', [[AmnesiacHero Link]] can recover various memories of his own past by going to certain locations he once visited and/or looking at specific objects involved in those memories. However, [[spoiler:upon pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal, he sees a memory of when Princess Zelda placed it there after he fell in battle and right before she went to seal away Calamity Ganon, an event he was not present to witness]].
* The Protheans are shown to have been able to absorb the memories of other beings by merely touching objects they've handled in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''. Whether this is a biological or biotic power is never really explained.
* The Sensen brain implant technology of ''VideoGame/RememberMe'' allows people to transfer memories between each other. In one of Nilin's memory remixes, a bounty hunter is trying to cure her husband by transferring her memories to him while he is in the hospital.
* [[Characters/SuperRobotWarsAlpha Professor Eri Anzai]] is kidnapped by Ze Balmary Empire in ''VideoGame/ShinSuperRobotWars'' because of her rather detailed Mu civilization theory. No item confirming the existence of this mythical people has ever come to light, but the Balmar sure seem convinced. They went so far as to digitize all of Professor Anzai's research data plus her brainwaves, despite the fact that even Professor Anzai herself has no clear idea of where the Mu might have dwelt.
* The Sword of Melqart in ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'' stores the memories of all its past users. However, they are not easily accessible, and not being strong enough [[spoiler: would cause the sword to wipe the memory of the user. Hasdrubal uses this to purposely wipe the memory of his son Hamil so the secrets of their family does not fall into the hands of TheEmpire.]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue: Reconstruction'', the Epsilon [=AI=] was created from the Alpha [=AI=]'s memories. Agent Washington eventually receives these memories when he implants Epsilon into his head, providing the catalyst for the series' events.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Ancients in ''Webcomic/GiftsOfWanderingIce'' used various methods of memory transfer as a way for chosen individuals to live forever.
* Amorphs in ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' have this as a part of their BizarreAlienBiology. Since they evolved from a type of biological computer memory their entire body is essentially their brain and memory. As such they can exchange memories by breaking off a part of themselves that contains a copy of the memory and giving it to another amorph to "eat".
* Spells in ''ComicBook/TheHerderWitch'' are taught in such a manner. Morie and Padora in the fifth issue transfer each other knowledge of their exclusive spells in such a manner, Morie learning Padora's water spell and Padora Morie' light spell. The memories can also be extracted in solid form (as a small capsule) to be absorbed later. Romantic implications also abound, with the intimacy depicted in passing each other spells.
* Discussed in ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'' regarding the robots. While transferring memories to a new frame is possible, they don't feel that they would still be themselves.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Silverhawks}}'', recurring villain Zero the Memory Thief can drain memories of both living beings and computers, then store them on tapes worn on his chest.