The Deja of Vu

By: Alex Sadowski

Why I chose Deja Vu

I chose this topic because it is an interesting phenomenon to me. On school days I sometimes feel like I do the same things every day so it makes me feel as if I am experiencing days as they are the same. Research into this topic may help me individualize these school days instead of just going through the motions and making it seem like a day that has happened already. It might help others in the same aspects, as well as changing their perspective on how recollection affects their experiences in the present.

What is Deja Vu?

Deja Vu is a feeling of familiarity you get when you feel like an experience in the present has already been experienced in your past. You feel a sense of recollection, in which you attempt to remember if you already lived through something. Deja Vu is French for "already seen".
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What Deja Vu does to the brain:

Deja Vu is related to a good memory function. It is caused by disturbances in the medial temporal lobe. The long term and short term memory functions of the brain malfunction causing information to bypass from short to long term memory. After a new moment is experienced, it feels as if we are remembering something from a past experience. Some researchers believe it happens because our brains have a limited input which causes it to perceive certain events that did not actually occur.
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Psychologist Anne Cleary did an experiment where she gave a person a list of celebrity names. The person was then given pictures of celebrities with their corresponding names, but some were incorrect. The person had to match the correct names with the correct celebrities. The person established a source of familiarity with the pictures of celebrities and the names. This experiement was repeated with different places (like Stonehenge or Taj Mahal) with similar results.

She also conducted an experiement with the game Sims 2 in which she produced 128 different scenes with similar settings for people to watch unfold. Research found out that experiences that were closely similar induced a resemblance.

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Interesting stuff about Deja Vu:

They made a movie about Deja Vu where a terrorist bombs a ferry killing hundreds of people. Denzel Washington has to use amazing technology to go back in time four days and prevent the attack from happening. He gets to experience some events all over again, which is a strong example of how Deja Vu makes you feel.

Scholarly website about Deja Vu: