Deja vu – a gift of prediction or cognitive illusion?
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Deja vu – a gift of prediction or cognitive illusion?

Deja vu – a gift of prediction or cognitive illusion?

Sometimes it seems to us: we knew what would happen now. Mystically -minded people tend to see predictions in this gift. But perhaps the science of law, and this is just a cognitive illusion?

For many deja vu – just a fleeting eerie sensation in the spirit of «I was here before». However, for some, this becomes a real mystical experience: they seemed to know what would happen next: for example, that a girl in a white shirt will pass on the left. How to explain it? Is it worth looking for signs of supernatural in these phenomena – for example, tips about past lives?

Do not rush with such conclusions, believes Anne Chiri, a memory researcher at the

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University of Colorado. Ann is one of the world experts in the field. Using laboratory experiments in order to call the subjects and then investigate this condition, she put forward the theory about why it was accompanied by a feeling “I knew that this would happen”.

Premonitions «retroactively»

The Clearry project revealed a strong bias in people experiencing dejavu in ordinary life: supposedly they knew what would happen next. But in the laboratory conditions, their predictions do not come true, so this is nothing more than a feeling, and a deceptive. “If this illusion is just a feeling, why do people believe so that they really predict what will happen next? Perhaps we are talking about cognitive illusion «.

To check this theory in the laboratory, clergy and her colleagues placed a control group in the scenery that are very similar to the famous Sims video game. Participants asked if they were experiencing dejavu. Then the virtual scene turned to the left or right, and the subjects again asked if they expected in which direction it would unfold. In a later experiment, the participants were invited to evaluate whether they were familiar with the scene itself – both before and after turning.

After summing up, the scientists found: when deja vu was accompanied by strong feelings of prediction, this was correlated with what we would call “worry in hindsighted”. That is, after the failed fact of the rotation of the scenery, the person reported that he knew what kind of turn was supposed to occur. But the experiment was organized so that people could not know this in any way, since the turns were made completely powerless.

The very feeling “I knew that this would happen” was very strong when the deja vu happened, and especially strong, when the scene was evaluated by the participant as a very familiar. It was no more and no less than strong bias after the accomplishment of.

Cognitive illusion

The Clearry team came to the conclusion that a high degree of acquaintance, which accompanies deja vu, also affects post -dictic bias – the very one that works “retroactively”. “If the whole scene after a turn seems very familiar to us, it can make the brain think that we all understood correctly,” Anne Kliri comments. – And since all this is so familiar, we are sure that we knew what would happen. «.

Dejaugu as a phenomenon of memory

It turns out that the conviction “I knew that everything would happen” – part of the illusion of the prediction, which often accompanies deja vu, Clearry believes. According to her previous experiments, dejavu is a phenomenon of memory in which we are trying to restore her fragment, but we cannot “catch” it. It looks like a sensation when a forgotten word «revolves in a tongue». Earlier, experiments were conducted in her laboratories that showed: when scenes from SIMS, which they saw earlier, but forgot more cases, there are more cases of deja vu, are displayed in the space.

Since more than ten years ago, Clearry began to study the phenomenon of Dejavu, many subjects told her about their experiences of this state-including those when they were completely sure that something predicted something. And the point is not that these people believed in supernatural – many of them were, according to the scientist, skeptics, such as her colleagues, researchers of memory.

New research

The work of the clergy continues: it joined the efforts with neurobiologists from the University of Emory, working with patients who have diagnosed injuries of the medial temporal lobe, as a result of which severe, periodically repeated dejavu are observed.

Anne Cleari also organizes experiments in which deja vu can be tested through auditory channels, and not visually. “Déjà entendu” is a phrase that is used when a person heard something before, but cannot “catch” this memory. This is another side of the issue to which Clearry and her students are ready to devote new research.

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