1

Can the first comma be replaced with a period? I think this is a non-essential relative clause, but I feel it can be two separate sentences.

Scientists have found a promising alternative to fear aversion therapy that involves using brain scanning technology and artificial intelligence to create “decoded neurofeedback”, a method that essentially erases the fearful memories from one’s mind without needing to evoke them, making it less traumatizing for people who don’t wish to relive their fears through aversion therapy.

Even for the second comma, so it becomes:

Scientists have found a promising alternative to fear aversion therapy that involves using brain scanning technology and artificial intelligence to create “decoded neurofeedback”. A method that essentially erases the fearful memories from one’s mind without needing to evoke them. Making it less traumatizing for people who don’t wish to relive their fears through aversion therapy.

4

No; when you break the sentence this way:

  • The second 'sentence' in your rewrite is only a noun phrase (a method) with a modifying relative clause (that . . . them). There's no finite verb and no indication of whether it's a subject or a complement.

  • The third 'sentence' is a verb phrase headed by a non-finite verb (making). There's no subject and no finite verb.

To form complete sentences you must supply the missing components:

Scientists have found a promising alternative to fear aversion therapy that involves using brain scanning technology and artificial intelligence to create “decoded neurofeedback”. This is a method that essentially erases the fearful memories from one’s mind without needing to evoke them. That makes Making it less traumatizing for people who don’t wish to relive their fears through aversion therapy.

5
  • I agree in general, but find the use of that in the third sentence to be problematic. Personally, I would say This erasure makes it . . . (Making it this and also clarifying the referent.) – Jason Bassford May 14 '18 at 2:05
  • @JasonBassford Well, sorta. a) I was trying to keep the editing minimal and directed to the syntactic point at hand. b) Two thises with different referents is itself problematic. c) My that doesn't have just the erasure as its referent, but the entire erasure-without-evocation. – StoneyB on hiatus May 14 '18 at 8:21
  • I can see the desire to not use this twice, but I'm not sure if that should be used at all. How about starting the third sentence with it? – Jason Bassford May 14 '18 at 8:49
  • @JasonBassford Or you could just use the original single sentence, which is clunky but clear. – StoneyB on hiatus May 14 '18 at 8:49
  • Good point. Just because you can rewrite it, that doesn't mean you should. ;) – Jason Bassford May 14 '18 at 8:51

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