At some point in life, one is likely to experience a strange sensation of 'I've been here before.' The feeling of déjà vu is known to all which is often accompanied by 'premonitions'. The researchers at Colorado State University tried to find out whether these feelings of what's going to happen next are reliable or not.
In the new study published in Psychological Science, cognitive psychologist Anne Cleary of Colorado State University tried to recreate the déjà vu sensation in the participants of the study to investigate on the feelings of 'premonitions' that often come along with it.
Cleary explains these feelings as a sensation of having a word on the "tip of your tongue." "We cannot consciously remember the prior scene, but our brains recognize the similarity," she said.
She added: "That information comes through as the unsettling feeling that we've been there before, but we can't pin down when or why."
Anne Cleary's team previously created virtual reality scenarios using The Sims video game. They created a series of virtual scenes, some of them spatially identical to each other yet thematically unrelated, Science Daily reported.
They found that the subjects were more likely to report the feelings of déjà vu in areas that were mapped onto scenes that they had witnessed earlier.
"My working hypothesis is that déjà vu is a particular manifestation of familiarity," Cleary said. "You have familiarity with a situation when you feel you shouldn't have it, and that's why it's so jarring, so striking."
For the test, the video scenes in which the participants were moved through a series of turns including scenes spatially mapped to the previous ones. But, the videos were paused before they could reach the final turn and they were asked to predict.
Though roughly half of the participants reported of having a strong déjà vu feeling, they were not good at recalling the right answer– this was the case for even those who were pretty confident that they would be correct.
So, the team concluded that déjà vu might make us feel like we can predict the future, but it doesn't help.