A group of researchers under the leadership of Akira O’connor from St. Andrews University came close to understanding what processes in the brain lead to the fact that he feels deja vu. As it turned out, this phenomenon is not related to false memories, although, in all probability, have had a rather unexpected attitude.
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Deja vu — a mental condition in which a person thinks that once he saw and heard exactly the same thing that he sees and hears in the moment, and this kind of “memory”, not tied to any specific time in the past. Scientists still can’t definitively answer the question, how there is such a sense and whether it has any practical function.
For their study, the specialists have modified the experiment to be used to create a person false memories. The essence of the experiment, though, is that the man called aloud a few words, the meaning associated with one and the same, but not named, phenomenon. For example, subjects may hear the words “night”, “pillow”, “bed” and so on, but not the word “sleep”. If later you ask a person what words he heard, it is with high probability the number of other call and the word “sleep”, since the subconscious “Doris” him the corresponding memory.
The principal difference of the new experiment was that reading the list, volunteers were asked, have you heard those words on the letter “s”. Study participants answered in the negative, and this point could not be deposited in their memory. Later when volunteers were asked to recall the words they heard, their brain reacted to this request is quite unusual: on the one hand, something still told them that they had to hear the word “sleep”, but on the other, they had proof that this word, as beginning in “s”, couldn’t sound. This paradox, as it turned out, provoked in people a feeling of deja vu.
While watching the brain of the participants, the researchers noted that during deja vu “responsible” not those parts of the brain which is traditionally associated with the processing of memories, and the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in decision-making.
Summing up their research, experts suggested that deja vu appears at the moment when the man himself is not sure whether he felt a particular sensation in the past. Thus, this phenomenon represents evidence of the correct operation of the system the memory test, the scientists suggest.