Have you ever had the feeling that you have faced the same situation before? The phenomenon known as deja vu – “already seen” in French – has long intrigued philosophers, neuroscientists and researchers.
Ann Cleary, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Colorado, wrote in an article in Conversation.
Anne stated that the initial research had a paranormal tone, taking the phenomenon to the supernatural aspect, like past lives, for example. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the scientist Alan Brown decided to review the research, and was able to reach some discoveries about the phenomenon deja vu‘ says Ann.
According to the scientist, two-thirds of people have experience deja vu at some point in their lives. The most common catalyst for a phenomenon is a scene or place, the second most common being a conversation. The researcher also reported suggestions of a possible association between deja vu And some types of seizures in the brain.
Deja vu in the lab
Inspired by Brown’s work, Ann began conducting experiments with the aim of testing hypotheses about possible mechanisms of deja vu. One of them is that deja vu It can occur when there is an analogy between a current scene and another scene that is not remembered in the individual’s memory.
“For example, imagine that you are passing by the nurses station of a hospital on your way to visit a sick friend. Although you have never been to this hospital before, you have a feeling deja vu‘She explains.’ The reason for this experience may be the distribution of the elements in the scene, including the placement of furniture and specific objects in the space, which may be similar to something you experienced in the past,” adds the researcher.
If the individual does not remember the previous situation, he leaves an impression of familiarity – the deja vu.
Ann decided to test this hypothesis using virtual reality to put people behind the scenes. “This way, we can manipulate the environments in which people find themselves – some scenes share the same spatial layout, even though they were distinct,” he explains.
The survey results showed that deja vu It was more likely to happen when people were in a scene that had the same spatial arrangement of items from a previous scene that they had seen but didn’t remember.
“This research indicates that a contributing factor to deja vu The spatial resemblance of a new scene to another in memory may not be consciously remembered at the moment. However, this does not mean that spatial similarity is the only reason for deja vuAnne concluded, adding that more research is underway to investigate other factors.
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