What causes deja vu?

Posted on April 14, 2016

Photo: flickr

Chances are, you've experienced this situation, known as déjà vu, during your life. Déjà vu (French for 'already seen') occurs in approximately 60 to 80 percent of people -- a phenomenon that's almost always fleeting and may manifest at any time. Despite wide-spread coverage, bursts of déjà vu are still misunderstood by the scientific community.

"Because there is no clear, identifiable stimulus that elicits a déjà vu experience (it is a retrospective report from an individual), it is very difficult to study déjà vu in a laboratory," said Michelle Hook, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Instances of déjà vu in healthy individuals may also be attributed to a 'mismatch' in the brain's neural pathways. This could be because the brain is constantly attempting to create whole perceptions of the world around us with limited input.

"Some suggest that when a difference in processing occurs along these pathways, the perception is disrupted and is experienced as two separate messages. The brain interprets the second version, through the slowed secondary pathway -- as a separate perceptual experience -- and thus the inappropriate feeling of familiarity (déjà vu) occurs," Hook said.


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Source material from Texas A


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