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deja vu

Mark D. Morin mdmpsyd at PETERHOOD69.earthlink.net
Sun Dec 3 09:58:13 EST 2000

Robert M Best wrote:

>                                                      DEJA VU
> by Robert M. Best


> The brain formation that recognizes new episodes and commits them to memory
> is the right hippocampus (HC).

That would be visual/spatial episodes.  Linguisticly based episodes are normally
processed by the Left Hippocampus (95% of right handers and about 75% of left
handers).  Since most episodes in life are a combination of linguistic and
nonlinguistic components, both hippocampi are usually involved.

snip of a decent summary of the neurology of memory

> By removing redundancy and compressing the input pattern to essential
> features, the DG discards information, just as compression of a digital
> picture in a JPG file discards information.  Without details, sooner or
> later a new pattern will match a prior pattern based on only the essential
> features, but not match the details in the uncompressed memory.  Since the
> details do not match, the prior memory does not become conscious, but the HC
> has already signaled that the pattern is a familiar one because the
> essential features do match.  This is the deja vu feeling.  We feel that a
> new situation has occurred before but cannot recall when or where.

my initial gut reaction is that this isn't quite what déjà-vu is about.  It's
not experienced so much as a memory but a reliving.  In any event, you are
getting at the underlying brain response to this phenomenon.  All brain response
are electro/chemical.  One can simply explain déjà-vu as an electrical blip that
shouldn't have happened.  Simplistic yes.

If you were to do long term telemetry on people experiencing frequent déjà-vu
you would more likely than not find evidence of seizure activity.  If you think
about it, it makes sense--most seizures will come from the mesial temporal
lobe--an area proximal to the hippocampi.

"I'll remind you that men never do evil so completely and
cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.  Put
another way, in general, bad people do evil things; good
people do good things.  But, it takes religion to make a good
person do something really bad."
                    --Jill Tarter, member of SETI


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