Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1433–1439 | Cite as

A postdictive bias associated with déjà vu

  • Anne M. ClearyEmail author
  • Andrew M. Huebert
  • Katherine L. McNeely-White
  • Kimberly S. Spahr
Brief Report


Recent research links reports of déjà vu – the feeling of having experienced something before despite knowing otherwise – with an illusory feeling of prediction. In the present study, a new finding is presented in which reports of déjà vu are associated not only with a predictive bias, but also with a postdictive bias, whereby people are more likely to feel that an event unfolded as expected after the event prompted déjà vu than after it did not. During a virtual tour, feelings of predicting the next turn were more likely during reported déjà vu, as in prior research. Then, after actually seeing the turn, participants exhibited a postdictive bias toward feeling that the scene unfolded as expected following déjà vu reports. This postdictive bias following déjà vu reports was associated with higher perceived scene familiarity intensity. A potential reason for this association may be that high familiarity intensity as an event outcome unfolds falsely signals confirmatory evidence of having sensed all along how it would unfold. Future research should further investigate this possibility.


Author note

The data for this study are available at the following link:


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne M. Cleary
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew M. Huebert
    • 1
  • Katherine L. McNeely-White
    • 1
  • Kimberly S. Spahr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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