Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A stunning new look at déjà vu

29.11.2006
A blind man suffering déjà vu. It sounds like a contradiction in terms – but the first case study of its kind has turned the whole theory of déjà vu on its head.

Traditionally it was thought images from one eye were delayed, arriving in the brain microseconds after images from the other eye – causing a sensation that something was being seen for the second time.

But University of Leeds researchers report for the first time the case of a blind person experiencing déjà vu through smell, hearing and touch.

The University is a world-leader in déjà vu research. The ground-breaking work of the University’s Institute of Psychological Sciences has been widely published in both the scientific and the news media. Their work is particularly aimed at understanding chronic déjà vu, where patients are constantly plagued by the feeling of having “been here before”.

... more about:
»déjà »experiences

In a new paper published in the journal Brain and Cognition*, researchers Akira O’Connor and Chris Moulin relate how mundane experiences – undoing a jacket zip while hearing a particular piece of music; hearing a snatch of conversation while holding a plate in the school dining hall – were examples of how deja experiences were triggered in the blind subject.

“It is the first time this has been reported in scientific literature,” said O’Connor. “It’s useful because it provides a concrete case study which contradicts the theory of optical pathway delay. Eventually we would like to talk to more blind people, though there’s no reason to believe this man’s experiences are abnormal or different to those of others.

“Optical pathway delay is a quite antiquated theory, but still widely believed – and was the basis for the déjà vu sequences in Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22. But this provides strong evidence that optical pathway delay is not the explanation for déjà vu. The findings are so obvious, so intuitive, that it’s remarkable this research has never been done before.”

O’Connor admits that to the person experiencing déjà vu, it feels almost inexplicable. “And because it feels so subjective, psychology, in striving for objectivity, has tended to shy away from it. But psychologists have gone some way to illuminating things like the ‘tip of my tongue’ sensation when you can’t think of a particular word. We just wanted to get to the same sort of understanding for déjà vu.”

O’Connor’s thesis, due to be completed next year, examines the experimental induction of déjà vu through hypnosis. “We now believe that deja experiences are caused when an area of the brain that deals with familiarity gets disrupted,” he said.

In one experiment, students are asked to remember words, then hypnotised to make them forget – and then shown the same word again to induce a feeling that they have seen it before. Around half said this brought on a sensation similar to déjà vu – half of whom said it was definitely déjà vu.

O’Connor would like to take the research further: “It would be really neat to do some neuro-imaging on people during genuine spontaneous déjà vu experiences – but it’s very difficult to get them to have them on demand…”

Simon Jenkins | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

Further reports about: déjà experiences

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>