Recognition Without Identification, Erroneous Familiarity, and Déjà Vu


Déjà vu is characterized by the recognition of a situation concurrent with the awareness that this recognition is inappropriate. Although forms of déjà vu resolve in favor of the inappropriate recognition and therefore have behavioral consequences, typical déjà vu experiences resolve in favor of the awareness that the sensation of recognition is inappropriate. The resultant lack of behavioral modification associated with typical déjà vu means that clinicians and experimenters rely heavily on self-report when observing the experience. In this review, we focus on recent déjà vu research. We consider issues facing neuropsychological, neuroscientific, and cognitive experimental frameworks attempting to explore and experimentally generate the experience. In doing this, we suggest the need for more experimentation and a more cautious interpretation of research findings, particularly as many techniques being used to explore déjà vu are in the early stages of development.

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Correspondence to Akira R. O’Connor.

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O’Connor, A.R., Moulin, C.J.A. Recognition Without Identification, Erroneous Familiarity, and Déjà Vu. Curr Psychiatry Rep 12, 165–173 (2010).

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  • Memory
  • Déjà vécu
  • Dissociation
  • Recollection
  • Confabulation