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Definition

Jamais vu, from the French, meaning “never seen,” refers to any familiar situation that is not recognized by the observer. Largely considered the opposite of déjà vu, it often involves a sense of eeriness and the observer’s impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before.

Current Knowledge

Jamais vu occurs fairly often in the typical population (between 40 and 60%). It often manifests itself as a momentary lack of recognition of a familiar word, person, or place. For example, when you look at your own face in the mirror and it begins to look strange, or if you temporarily forget what a pedal does when you are driving.

It is possible to induce jamais vu in a laboratory setting. For example, if people write down familiar words such as “wood” 30 times in 1 min, the majority will report experiencing jamais vu. After writing the word over and over again, people may feel as if they were writing a...

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Spector, F. (2011). Jamais Vu. In: Kreutzer, J.S., DeLuca, J., Caplan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1167

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1167

  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-79947-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-79948-3

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