Ask The Naked Scientists

702 Q&A Pre-July 2012 episode

Fri, 10th Feb 2012

What causes Deja vu?

Fat_lazy_cat_photo (c)

What is freezing rain, do cats control their owners, how do accents arise, why does hair go grey, what is the origin of deja vu, why did my glass table spontaneously explode and is the world population becoming more or less genetically diverse? Dr Chris tackles this week's round up of the best science questions from South Africa...

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Didn't we discuss this already? Geezer, Fri, 10th Feb 2012



Didn't you ask that already ? neilep, Sat, 11th Feb 2012



Didn't you ask that already ?


I have a feeling I might have. Geezer, Sat, 11th Feb 2012



Didn't you ask that already ?


I have a feeling I might have.


Well I don't remember anything of the sort. Did I forget this before? Don_1, Mon, 13th Feb 2012



Didn't you ask that already ?


I have a feeling I might have.


Well I don't remember anything of the sort. Did I forget this before?


Didn't we discuss this already? Geezer, Mon, 13th Feb 2012



Didn't you ask that already ?


I have a feeling I might have.


Well I don't remember anything of the sort. Did I forget this before?


Didn't we discuss this already?


Didn't you ask that already ? neilep, Mon, 13th Feb 2012

I knew this thread was going to go this way............. ;D Sprool, Tue, 14th Feb 2012



Strewth! Must be Deja Vu. Don_1, Sat, 18th Feb 2012



Strewth! Must be Deja Vu.


Didn't you...?

Ah nevermind. Nizzle, Tue, 21st Feb 2012

In his marvellous book "The man who mistook his wife for a hat", Oliver Sachs hinted at a process which could explain deja vu, which consisted of a small delay in the brain processing memory and interpreting events, thus the eye could picture a scene and the brain register it in the memory banks, then a moment afterwards the interpretation of the scene could take place whereby the 'live' image was compared to the initial one already preserved in the short term memory only 1/10 of a second beforehand. The brain would thus see the live scene as the same as the memory and you would get a feeling you had 'been there before'. Sprool, Tue, 21st Feb 2012

Slightly related is the "onosecond".

An onosecond is the time it takes for your brain to realize that it is now inevitable that you will depress the Enter key, even though your brain is trying to prevent you from depressing the Enter key. Geezer, Tue, 21st Feb 2012



There is research on that dreadful feeling - I will try and find it.  It seems that our concept of an ordered flow of events is maybe a bit more of a mind construct than simple thought and perception.  Deja vu and the onosecond are events that emphasis the slight failings of the system - and they can use FMRI (I think) to tease apart the actual order things are happening in our head rather than the internal representation of how they are happening.  imatfaal, Wed, 22nd Feb 2012

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