Giving déjà vu a second look [The Reporter]

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Many of us have experienced déjà vu - the unsettling sensation of knowing that a situation could not have been experienced, combined with the feeling that it has. It is usually so fleeting that psychologists have until recently thought it impossible to study. But for some people, the feeling of having been there before is a persistent sensation, making every day a ‘Groundhog Day’. Psychologists from Leeds’ memory group are working with sufferers of chronic déjà vu on the world’s first study of the condition.

[...]

“The exciting thing about these people is that they can ‘recall’ specific details about an event or meeting that never actually occurred. It suggests that the sensations associated with remembering are separate to the contents of memory, that there are two different systems in the brain at work.” Dr Moulin believes a circuit in our temporal lobe fires up when we recall the past, creating the experience of remembering but also a ‘recollective experience’ – the sense of the self in the past. In a person with chronic déjà vu this circuit is either overactive or permanently switched on, creating memories where none exist. When novel events are processed, they are accompanied by a strong feeling of remembering.
http://reporter.leeds.ac.uk/513/s5.htm
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
I'd like to know if the phenomena of chronic deja vu is more related to genetics or if it could be caused by something like a head injury or a stroke that would influence how active the proposed circuit in the temporal lobe that might cause the deja vu is.
 
  • #3
Mk
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That's scary.
 
  • #5
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My hypothesis on the subject of deje vu is as follows:

Brains are active all the time, sleeping, waking, whatever.

With all the computing going on in a brain, the person is either unaware of the calculations or aware of them. But the brain is structured in such a way as to come up with calculated projections that are accurate, to a "T", about the future of the person possessing the brain. In a consciously aware state. It's why we can calculate from a jump to a landing in a specific spot. Its been calculated by the brain and the information relayed to the body.

When your waking, conscious and aware (however you want to describe it) body reaches a point (sometimes years in the future) that has been calculated by its brain accurately and to the millisecond as going to happen in its life... it feels like "you have been here before" and that "you have experienced this exact sequence of events before"... usually lasting only a few milliseconds.

It seems mystical and metaphysical and religious or alien but its really just that human brains have very good computational powers and are, for the most part, unaware of this future-projection calculation feature of the brain... beyond knowing enough to put one foot in front of the other.
 
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  • #6
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Sounds like it wouldn't happen. Your brain is not developed enough to understand such an enormously chaotic system.
 
  • #7
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quantumcarl said:
My hypothesis on the subject of deje vu is as follows:
Your hypothesis is as good as any, but we don't need any hypotheses since the cause of the phenomenon is already well understood and documented.

Have a look at the thread to which I posted a link above.
 
  • #8
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Mk said:
Sounds like it wouldn't happen. Your brain is not developed enough to understand such an enormously chaotic system.
Your reasoning here escapes me since our brain is part of, if not all of, the enormously chaotic system.:wink:
 
  • #9
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zoobyshoe said:
Your hypothesis is as good as any, but we don't need any hypotheses since the cause of the phenomenon is already well understood and documented.

Have a look at the thread to which I posted a link above.
Dear Zoobyshoe, I went to the thread on the subject of deja vu you directed me to and the only reference you gave to verify your claim was this...

Zoobyshoe said:
Neurologists have proven that it is caused by a tiny bit of seizure activity in the neurons of a part of the brain called the hippocampus.
plus your link to an explaination of partial seizures in suffers of epilepsy at Trileptal.com.

These don't support your claim. If there is data on mapping the activity of the neurons during a deja vu... that would be interesting to say the least.... but I really doubt there is such data or a set up for collecting such data since the deja vu occurs a such a random rate in people.


If you have some specific neurologists or neurobiologists to refer us to, that would clear this up.

I can't say I always give a good reference myself so I know the its difficult, sometimes, to dig them up. Is this something you read, heard, or are you a neurologist yourself?

edit: PS. Even if there is seizure-like neurological activity associated with a "deja vu" who's to say the activity is not the result of "neurological preparedness" due to previous neurological calculations and the shock of confirmation in the person being "in situ"?
 
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  • #10
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quantumcarl said:
These don't support your claim. If there is data on mapping the activity of the neurons during a deja vu... that would be interesting to say the least.... but I really doubt there is such data or a set up for collecting such data since the deja vu occurs a such a random rate in people.
"The anatomical origin of deja vu..."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8149215&dopt=Citation
If you have some specific neurologists or neurobiologists to refer us to, that would clear this up.
There's also the Gloor et al. article I posted an image from in post 32 of the thread I linked to.
I can't say I always give a good reference myself so I know the its difficult, sometimes, to dig them up. Is this something you read, heard, or are you a neurologist yourself?
No, a sufferer. I was nearly driven crazy by over two years of constant deja vu's. Some days I had two or three a minute all day long. A good day meant only have 5 or 6 all day. Eventually I found out this was a simple partial seizure and researched it, and epilepsy, in great detail over the next few years.

edit: PS. Even if there is seizure-like neurological activity associated with a "deja vu" who's to say the activity is not the result of "neurological preparedness" due to previous neurological calculations and the shock of confirmation in the person being "in situ"?
If you familiarize yourself with what the hippocampus does you'll see there's no need for your speculation. The phenomenon has been already extremely well explained, although it's not well known outside neurology that that is the case. If you google simple partial seizures deja vu nearly always comes up as a symptom.
 
  • #11
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zoobyshoe said:
"The anatomical origin of deja vu..."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8149215&dopt=Citation

There's also the Gloor et al. article I posted an image from in post 32 of the thread I linked to.

No, a sufferer. I was nearly driven crazy by over two years of constant deja vu's. Some days I had two or three a minute all day long. A good day meant only have 5 or 6 all day. Eventually I found out this was a simple partial seizure and researched it, and epilepsy, in great detail over the next few years.


If you familiarize yourself with what the hippocampus does you'll see there's no need for your speculation. The phenomenon has been already extremely well explained, although it's not well known outside neurology that that is the case. If you google simple partial seizures deja vu nearly always comes up as a symptom.
Thank you Zoobyshoe, I see that there is a number of people who have studied the phenomenon of epilepsy who also hold a similar mechanism responsible for the phenomenon of deja vu. This started with a study in 1898 or so and no one has strayed too far from that initial study. I'd still like to do my own research on the phenomenon starting with a large quantity of German beer, now.:surprised

Its not too far fetched to imagine a person who is exhibiting epilepsy to possess a brain that calculates the future situations of their event horizon to the point of rendering them in periodic seizures and catatonic states. This would happen when their present situation and "real time" catch up to the projections calculated by the brain. If deja vu is related in nature to epilepsy then the deja vu seizure is simply a milder, neuron/hippocampus reaction, to a similar phenomenon (that being one of a conscious awareness and shock from an overload of information).

Just mixin' it up here dude!
 
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  • #12
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I swear last year at the beginning of the year, I had a very werid sensation in which I saw a strange man I had never seen before looking at me, as my teacher lectured. Several months later, I realized that the man was replacing my own teacher.:surprised . I think there is more to it than just an area of the brain thinking that it remmebered something. It is more so an error in perception of time.
-Scott
 
  • #13
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Okay it is all documented, but what if it also has to do with that "mirroring function" that has recently been described? This is the case where primate researchers with a chimp wired up, notice that the chimp, watching another chimp eat a banana, experiences it by a mirroring funtion that seems to be innate to all primates.
 
  • #14
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Uhm, what if it doesn't? :confused:
 
  • #15
Have a look at F. David Peat's "Synchronicity"; it has the most interesting and extensive explanations of 'deja' from a scientific viewpoint that I know of.

regards,
 
  • #16
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Well i was reading all the explantions people had on Deja Vu; and here is mine. I was watching this show on a program called the "spider bot" it claimed to be able to surf the web and pick out key terms which in turn clearly predicted future events. And after a Deja Vu experiance I thought what could it be? I thought about our subconscious while were awake, like the "spider bot" our brains are able to pick precise moments when were awake but we are unable to put these together because our conscious mind is still processing everyday data such as school work, social life and other priorities. So when we sleep our conscious mind sleeps aswell and the subconscious mind goes to work analyzing(dreaming) the data. So in the end I see Deja Vu as an ability that we cannot control in which accuratly is able to predict segamnts of things that are going to happen in the near future.
 

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