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Chronic Deja Vu

March 1, 2006

Almost everyone’s had deja vu: the feeling that you’ve experienced something before, even though you haven’t. But what if the feeling never let up?

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Having déjà vu over and over again. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Imagine having déjà vu 24 hours a day. It’s rare, but it does happen to some people. And it’s so powerful that they think the TV news is nothing but reruns, even though they can’t predict what’s coming next. Psychologist Chris Moulin of the University of Leeds in England says these patients’ experience can give us new insight into memory itself.

CHRIS MOULIN (University of Leeds,England):
And it suggests that sensations of memory, and the feelings surrounding memory, can be quite, quite separate from the actual contents of memory.

HIRSHON:
He says the sensation of remembering may be controlled by the brain’s temporal lobe, which is damaged in patients with chronic déjà vu. He’s recruiting more of these patients for brain scan studies, in order to pinpoint the relevant areas.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.