A review of the déjà vu experience

Psychol Bull. 2003 May;129(3):394-413. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.3.394.


For more than a century, the déjà vu experience has been examined through retrospective surveys, prospective surveys, and case studies. About 60% of the population has experienced déjà vu, and its frequency decreases with age. Déjà vu appears to be associated with stress and fatigue, and it shows a positive relationship with socioeconomic level and education. Scientific explanations of déjà vu fall into 4 categories: dual processing (2 cognitive processes momentarily out of synchrony), neurological (seizure, disruption in neuronal transmission), memory (implicit familiarity of unrecognized stimuli),and attentional (unattended perception followed by attended perception). Systematic research is needed on the prevalence and etiology of this culturally familiar cognitive experience, and several laboratory models may help clarify this illusion of recognition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deja Vu*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology