Why we experience deja vu
According to statistics, about 70% of the people are familiar with the experience of deja vu. For a long time it was believed that this phenomenon is associated with false memories, however, last year’s study showed that this is not so: the team led by Akira O’connor (Akira O’connor) of St. Andrews University (Scotland) have developed a special method for study of the phenomenon of deja vu in laboratory conditions.
In the new technique applies the standard method to identify false memories, said the publication New Scientist. It includes a message list of related words, e.g., bed, pillow, night — in addition to keywords, common words (in this case, the word “sleep”). Then when somebody asks about heard the words, he usually believes that he heard the word “sleep” is a false memory.
To create a sense of deja vu, experts asked participants whether they heard a word starting with the letter “C”. Subjects responded no, not heard.
When then asked them whether they heard the word “sleep”, people realised that couldn’t hear (it starts with), but it still seemed familiar. According to O’connor, the subjects reported about the strange experience of deja vu.
In this case, the researchers examined the brains of 21 subjects using fMRI. One would expect that during the experience of the phenomenon will be activated these brain areas involved in working with memories, as the hippocampus, however, was not the case. Experts have discovered that when deja vu “included” frontal lobe of the brain involved in the decision-making process.
As suggested by O’connor at the presentation of the results of the study during the period of the conference International Conference on Memory in Budapest (Hungary), frontal lobe, probably the “check” memories and “send” signals, if there is some “error” — the conflict between what we are experiencing, and what I think, what we are experiencing.
Thus, if the results are correct, we can assume that the experience of deja vu is a kind of evidence that the system check the memories (the human brain) “is working properly” and that the probability of incorrect recall the events experienced will be lower.
This also correlates with what we already know about the effects of aging, affecting memory, déjà vu is often experienced by young people and eroding in elderly with memory impairment (may be becoming more difficult to detect “errors” of memory).
As for people not experiencing deja vu, then, according to O’connor, perhaps they have a more advanced mnemonic system. They may simply not be “mistakes” of memory, and therefore be no trigger for this phenomenon, adds the researcher.