Deja Vu : Scientifically Explained

When you see familiar faces,
But you don’t remember where they’re from,

When you’ve been particular places,
That you know you’ve never been before,

Ever had a conversation,
That you realize you’ve had before,

Have you ever talked to someone,
And you feel you know what’s coming next?
It feels pre-arranged.

– Adapted from “Deja Vu” by Iron Maiden

Déjà vu (French word meaning “already seen”) refers to feeling or illusion of having already seen, already been to or experienced something that is being experienced for the first time. In short, Déjà vu can be defined as “Familiarity without awareness”. The familiarity is usually accompanied by eeriness, strangeness, or an uncanny sense. It has been said that déjà vu affects individuals of all ages, but teenagers and young adults (between the ages 15 to 25) are more susceptible to the feeling. Déjà vu has often been described as “remembering the future” and is a very common phenomenon experienced by 70% or more of the population at least once. Its a hard experience to interpret.

Types of Déjà vu

Deja Vecu (already experienced or lived through)

– Commonest
– Sensation of having done something or having been in an identical situation before and knowing what will happen next
– Frequently connected with very banal events
– Often clearly remembered for years following their occurrence

Deja Senti (already felt)

– There are no precognitive aspects in which the person feels he or she knows in advance what will be said or done
– The episodes quickly dissipate from memory
– Firmly associated with temporal-lobe epilepsy

Deja Visite (already visited)

– Rarer
– A person visits a new place and feels that it is familiar
– It may be that the person once read a detailed account of the place and has subsequently forgotten it.

However, it can be a mixed version with a combined déjà vu effect.

Scientific theories:

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, now say they have discovered the part of the brain that is responsible for déjà vu; they say neurons in the memory centre of the brain called the hippocampus make a mental map of new places and experiences, then store them away for later use. They believe that déjà vu occurs when two events or places are very similar to each other, overlap and thus the feeling of déjà vu takes place.

Optical pathway delay: If your 2 eyes both saw the same event, but for some reason the message took just a fraction longer to reach your brain from your left eye than it does from your right, there is a chance that your brain may process the same event twice, making you feel like you’ve already seen it, even if it was only a thousandth of a second earlier. But, this theory has been antiquated after Deja Vu being reported in a blind person.

Divided Brain Function: The frontal lobes of the brain are tied to the future, the temporal lobes with the past and the limbic system with the present. In this area of the brain are the hippocampus associated with short term memory (STM) & the parahippocampal cortex associated with long term memory (LTM). Upon proper functioning, there is seamless integration between the past, present and future. However, when excessive communication between short-term and long-term memories occurs, the present may begin to feel like the past. When perceptions of the present are incorrectly filtered through the memory system of the parahippocampal gyrus and its neocortical connections (responsible for recognizing memories from the past), the present moment will feel like a past memory.

Hologram Theory: The brain, in trying to combine the information from all the senses to create a complete picture of the current experience, brings forward similar or related details from past experiences such as the same smell, sight or sound by retrieving them from long-term memory. These sensory impressions from past memories overlap with the impressions from the new experience and give it the appearance of having come from long-term memory.

Malfunctioning between the long and short-term memory circuits of the brain:
Somehow, specific information shortcuts its way from short to long-term memory storage, bypassing the usual mechanisms used for storage transfer. The details concerning this shortcut are not yet well understood. When this new, recent piece of information is drawn upon, the person thinks that the piece is coming from long-term storage and so must have come from the distant past.

Spiritual theories:

  1. Precognitive dreams
  2. Reincarnation (past-life memories)
  3. Clairvoyance (prophecy)
  4. Parallel universe (your counterpart has already experienced the same situation in parallel universe)

Common Medical Conditions Causing Deja Vu:

  1. Schizophrenia
  2. Temporal lobe epilepsy
  3. Anxiety
  4. Disassociative identity disorder

Deja Vu has also been associated with the use of psychedelic drugs

What triggered me to write about Deja vu?

One of my friends, Claimed to have a strange and supernatural experience of Deja Vu that’s really hard to explain. He claims that before visiting India, he had a dream of an Unknown place with pools at the site, concrete structure . He was in a line waiting for a turn to enter. Later during his Tour when he reached the site ” It was LOTUS temple in Delhi”, the same pool, the same structure, the same line and the people dressed in same pattern as in his dream, distributing pamplets. He suddenly felt dizzy and Nauseated , He was totally confused and shocked at this experience. How could this be possbile, he often says.

  1. February 27, 2011
    • February 27, 2011
      • April 25, 2015
        • May 15, 2015
  2. March 11, 2011
    • March 11, 2011
  3. April 3, 2011
    • June 5, 2011
  4. June 30, 2011
    • July 12, 2011
  5. November 2, 2011
  6. December 12, 2011
  7. December 13, 2011
    • December 14, 2011
      • December 30, 2011
        • December 30, 2011
  8. December 13, 2011
    • December 31, 2011
  9. May 8, 2012
  10. May 20, 2013
  11. September 29, 2015
    • October 8, 2015

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