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Towards a conflict account of déjà vu: The role of memory errors and memory expectation conflict in the experience of déjà vu.

Déjà vu can be defined as conflict between a subjective evaluation of familiarity and a concurrent evaluation of novelty. Accounts of the déjà vu experience have not explicitly referred to a "conflict account of déjà vu" despite the acceptance of conflict-based definitions of déjà vu and relatively recent neuroimaging work that has implicated brain areas associated with conflict as underpinning the experience. Conflict monitoring functioning follows a similar age-related trajectory to déjà vu with a peak in young adulthood and a subsequent age-related decline. In this narrative review of the literature to date, we consider how déjà vu is defined and how this has influenced the understanding of déjà vu. We also review how déjà vu can be understood within theories of recognition memory and cognitive control. Finally, we summarise the conflict account of déjà vu and propose that this account of the experience may provide a coherent explanation as to why déjà vu experiences tend to decrease with age in the non-clinical population.

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