, Volume 252, Issue 1, pp 1-7

Déjà vu in neurology

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Abstract

The significance of déjà vu is widely recognised in the context of temporal lobe epilepsy, and enquiry about déjà vu is frequently made in the clinical assessment of patients with possible epilepsy. Déjà vu has also been associated with several psychiatric disorders. The historical context of current understanding of déjà vu is discussed. The literature reveals déjà vu to be a common phenomenon consistent with normality. Several authors have suggested the existence of a “pathological” form of déjà vu that differs, qualitatively or quantitatively, from “non-pathological” déjà vu. The features of déjà vu suggesting neurological or psychiatric pathology are discussed. Several neuroanatomical and psychological models of the déjà vu experience are highlighted, implicating the perceptual, mnemonic and affective regions of the lateral temporal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala in the genesis of déjà vu. A possible genetic basis for a neurochemical model of déjà vu is discussed. Clinical approaches to the patient presenting with possible déjà vu are proposed.