1st Report of Déjà Vu in Blind Person
Case Shows Phenomena Isn't Just About Vision
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 1, 2006 -- Ever had déjà vu, the odd sensation you've experienced a
The words déjà vu literally mean "already seen"; but the sensation
may not just come through sight.
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Two English researchers describe what they say is the first report of déjà
vu in a blind person.
Akira O'Connor and Christopher Moulin, PhD, present the case in Brain
Both work at England's University of Leeds. O'Connor is a psychology
graduate student -- Moulin a lecturer in cognitive neuropsychology.
"Given that current theory now favors a memory explanation for déjà vu,
that we report déjà vu in a blind individual is, in itself, not a cause for
surprise," they write.
"What is surprising is that it has not been reported before, and that
the application of this knowledge has not previously been used to further our
understanding of déjà vu," they say.
The healthy 25-year-old man in their study has been totally blind from
birth, yet says he's had multiple "déjà" experiences since childhood,
according to the researchers.
The man calls those experiences a "multidimensional memory, as if I was
encountering a minirecording in my head, but trying to think 'Where have I come
across that before?'"
For instance, he recalls having the feeling while zipping up a jacket as he
heard a particular sound on a cassette player, and as he went through a
cafeteria line, according to the researchers.
Since the blind man has never seen, those experiences can't stem from his
vision, say O'Connor and Moulin.
They say the man contacted them about "déjà" experiences in which he
felt he'd been in the same situation before.
He said he now has such experiences about every three months, but had them
two or three times a week as a child.
However, he couldn't recall his last déjà experience.