At the International Conference on Memory last month, I presented some new work from my lab, a 21 participant, fMRI-scanned, memory experiment. We imaged people’s brains as they underwent a procedure that generates sensations likened to déjà vu (based on Josie Urquhart’s procedure, published in 2014, that you can find here). What makes this work particularly exciting is that, to our knowledge, this is the first time people undergoing an experimental analogue of déjà vu have been imaged. It lead to some pretty neat results.
The findings were picked up by New Scientist and are summarised in the piece below:
Embedded within that article is the following video, which distills the essence of what we’re excited about – brain regions associated with memory conflict, rather than false memory, appear to be driving the déjà vu experience. This is consistent with our idea of deja vu as the conscious awareness of a discrepancy in memory signals being corrected. This in turn sheds some light on why déjà vu occurrence appears to decline with age despite the fact that memory errors tend to increase with age. If it’s not an error, but the prevention of an error, this makes a lot more sense.
A few other news organisations have since reported the story:
BBC World Service Newshour (interview, audio below)
Absolute Radio (interview, audio below: 42.55 – 48.02)
IFLScience (text, rejigged NS article)
New York Magazine (text, neat explanation of the paradigm)
Digital Trends (text, one of the only online news organisations to speak to me in person)
Daily Mail (text, unnecessarily scary headline, lots of lovely comments :/ )
Gizmodo (text, more hyperbole)
Medical Daily (text)
New.com.au (text, emphasises importance of peer review to come)