Déjà Vu

Essay by bukaka19College, UndergraduateA, February 2009

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Option C: Déjà vu experimentsHave you ever had the feeling of being in a new place or situation yet strangely recognizing that place or situation before? For a long time people had a couple of different ideas or theories on how this mysterious sensation is formed in the human brain. Some thought they might have been simple neurological mix-ups comparable to a glitch in a computer system or video game, while others tend to believe it’s a paranormal disturbance such as reincarnation. I recently found an article from the Association for Psychological Science’s journal entitled Current Directions in Psychological Science that used a series of tests and experiments to help explain the phenomenon dubbed as “déjà vu”, by a French scientist named Emile Boirac in 1876,meaning “already seen”. These tests performed by Colorado State University’s psychologist Anne M. Cleary concluded that déjà vu is most closely related to our perceptive of human recognition memory.

According to the APS “Human recognition memory is the type of memory that’s allows us to realize that what we are currently experiencing has already been experienced before.” An example of this could be for instance how we recognize the local mailman or store clerk. The human brain switches between two varieties of memory recognition: recollection and familiarity. Recollection is when one recalls or retrieves a specific memory or instance that has previously occurred. On the contrary familiarity is when we feel that our current situation is recognizable but we can’t pinpoint where or when it was done before. Déjà vu is very much so related to the familiarity type of human recognition. During a period of experiencing déjà vu we are persuaded to believe that we recognize our current state or situation but are not sure from what this recognition stems from.

In order to...