Familiarity without recognition

From a New Scientist article about déjà vu:

Mr P, an 80-year-old Polish émigré and former engineer, knew he had memory problems, but it was his wife who described it as a permanent sense of déjà vu. He refused to watch TV or read a newspaper, as he claimed to have seen everything before. When he went out walking he said the same birds sang in the same trees and the same cars drove past at the same time every day. His doctor said he should see a memory specialist, but Mr P refused. He was convinced that he had already been.

Whilst it doesn’t provide a definitive answer to what déjà vu is and why/how it happens it does have some interesting ideas, as well as quite an amusing coda:

One anecdotal finding that came to light while working on this article is that people who think a lot about déjà vu are more prone to it. I had déjà vu about reading about déjà vu, and researchers have had déjà vu about having déjà vu…Just reading this article could give you déjà vu.