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Author Notes:

Nigel P. Pedersen, MBBS, Department of Neurology, Emory University, 101 Woodruff Circle, WMB, Sixth Floor, Room 6107, Atlanta, GA, 30307, USA. Phone: (404) 778-5934. Email: nigel.pedersen@emory.edu

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


Research Funding:

Dr. Drane’s efforts on this paper were supported in part by funding received from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH/NINDS, R01NS088748). He also receives funding from additional grants from the NIH (R01MH118514; R01NS110347), as well as Medtronic, Inc. (A1321808).

Dr. Pedersen was supported in part by funding received from the NIH/NINDS (K08NS105929, R21NS122011, R01NS088748) and CURE Epilepsy.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Behavioral Sciences
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • Deja vu
  • Subjective experience
  • Focal seizures
  • Seizure aura
  • Stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG)
  • Consciousness

Subjective distinguishability of seizure and non-seizure Deja Vu: A case report, brief literature review, and research prospects


Journal Title:



Volume 125


, Pages 108373-108373

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Roughly two-thirds of all people report having experienced déjà vu—the odd feeling that a current experience is both novel and a repeat or replay of a previous, unrecalled experience. Reports of an association between déjà vu and seizure aura symptomatology have accumulated for over a century, and frequent déjà vu is also now known to be associated with focal seizures, particularly those of a medial temporal lobe (MTL) origin. A longstanding question is whether seizure-related déjà vu has the same basis and is the same subjective experience as non-seizure déjà vu. Survey research suggests that people who experience both seizure-related and non-seizure déjà vu can often subjectively distinguish between the two. We present a case of a person with a history of focal MTL seizures who reports having experienced both seizure-related and non-seizure common déjà vu, though the non-seizure type was more frequent during this person's youth than it is currently. The patient was studied with a virtual tour paradigm that has previously been shown to elicit déjà vu among non-clinical, young adult participants. The patient reported experiencing déjà vu of the common non-seizure type during the virtual tour paradigm, without associated abnormalities of the intracranial EEG. We situate this work in the context of broader ongoing projects examining the subjective correlates of seizures. The importance for memory research of virtual scenes, spatial tasks, virtual reality (VR), and this paradigm for isolating familiarity in the context of recall failure are discussed.

Copyright information:

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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