Towards a conflict account of déjà vu: the role of memory errors and memory expectation conflict in the experience of déjà vu

Courtney B. A. Aitken*, Ines Jentzsch, Akira R. O'Connor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Déjà vu can be defined as conflict between a subjective evaluation of familiarity and a concurrent evaluation of novelty. Accounts of the déjà vu experience have not explicitly referred to a “conflict account of déjà vu” despite the acceptance of conflict-based definitions of déjà vu and relatively recent neuroimaging work that has implicated brain areas associated with conflict as underpinning the experience. Conflict monitoring functioning follows a similar age-related trajectory to déjà vu with a peak in young adulthood and a subsequent age-related decline. In this narrative review of the literature to date, we consider how déjà vu is defined and how this has influenced the understanding of déjà vu. We also review how déjà vu can be understood within theories of recognition memory and cognitive control. Finally, we summarise the conflict account of déjà vu and propose that this account of the experience may provide a coherent explanation as to why déjà vu experiences tend to decrease with age in the non-clinical population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105467
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume155
Early online date28 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Déjà vu
  • Metacognition
  • Memory retrieval control
  • Conflict
  • Cognitive control

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