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Deja Vu Roundup

December 19, 2008

Scientists try to get at the cause of Déjà vu – again.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Experiencing phony reruns. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A report in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science reveals that the experience known as déjà vu could be related to something called recognition memory. That’s where we store a memory as many pieces of a puzzle; later, experiencing just one piece brings the whole memory into sharp focus. For example, hearing a voice similar to that of a loved one can bring on a wave of emotion. In a similar way, a small fragment of a new situation that’s similar to one we’ve had before brings up the same recognition feelings as if the entire past experience were replaying.

In other brain news, researchers in Canada are using virtual environments to train the brains of athletes. For example, soccer goalies spend an hour a day trying to track balls moving on the screen and changing color. The games can improve the athlete’s ability to think quickly on the field. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.