Most people have experienced déjà vu, fleeting sensations that make you feel never experienced an event, or passing through a place, but you never really experienced it or passed by. According to research, about two thirds of people have experienced déjà vu at least once in their lifetime.
The term of 'Déjà vu' was coined in 1876 by the French philosopher named Emile Boirac to describe a strong feeling that the experience you are experiencing now've ever experienced in the past. The 'déjà vu' word itself comes from the French meaning "ever felt or seen".
|Illustration of déjà vu. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1dTi2o)|
In the research, O'Connor and team are trying to induce a sensation of déjà vu in participants by instilling a false memory. The team then took brain scans of participants who experienced déjà vu using the fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Initially, scientists thought that the brain areas involved with memory management, such as the hippocampus, will be active as long as this phenomenon occurs, but it is not. The team actually found the frontal lobe, the area of the brain involved in decision-making becomes more active.
O'Connor said the frontal lobe checked entire our memory, and transmit a signal if there is a memory error, the conflict between the things that has really we have experienced and the things we think we have already experienced.
"That suggests the possibility of some conflict decision-making happens in the brain during déjà vu occurs," said Stefan Kohler of the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
This discovery also shows that déjà vu was a sign that the memory checking system of brain working properly. It fits in with what is called the effects of age on memory, because déjà vu is more common occurs in people of young age and rarely in old people, since memory began to decline.
"Scarcity of déjà vu at the old age may show a decrease in the general checking system, so that memory errors tend to be overlooked," said O'Connor.
However, it does not mean that people who have never experienced déjà vu was in trouble with their memory checking system. O'Connor said, "It may be that people who do not experience déjà vu have a better memory system, because if there's no memory error occurs on the brain, there's nothing will be triggered the déjà vu."
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