Déjà Vu: What Is The Science Behind It? And Why Do We Experience It So Often?
Each of us has had the sense of doing something and having a vague feeling of having done it previously with no actual recollection of the moment. This creepy phenomenon is known to the world as Déjà Vu. It is a very common phenomenon and people all around the globe experience it every day. Some people even say they experience it at least once a week.
Déjà vu is a French term that means “already seen.” Eerie, right?
What Is Déjà Vu?
Déjà vu is a feeling of familiarity or recognition without memory of when and where. Sometimes, it occurs when we see something that reminds us of something else from any past occurrences. Let's a simple example to understand déjà vu.
Suppose you walk into a room to do something and then get a sudden feeling that you have lived through this exact moment before. However, no matter how hard you try, you cannot seem to remember when exactly have you experienced the moment.
No, it is not a “glitch in the Matrix,” as the pop culture movie had led you to believe so!
It is a phenomenon that has underlying scientific reasons. Though you believe in your subconscious that this is a new experience for you, your brain tries to convince you differently. Different people have attributed Déjà vu to different meanings. However, déjà vu only means one thing, something is affecting your memory.
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How Does Déjà Vu Happen?
Many people believe that they experience déjà vu because they have lived through the exact moment in their past lives, whereas many others believe it to be a paranormal experience or a premonition of sorts.
Fortunately, that is not the case.
There is no single agreed reason behind déjà vu. Different studies have proven different things. But they all agree on one thing, déjà vu is a memory phenomenon.
Traditionally, our brain is divided into four lobes:
The medial temporal lobe in our brains is responsible for retaining visual memories, language comprehension, and emotional understanding. When the temporal lobe is affected by factors such as epileptic seizures, fatigue, stress, burnout, etc, it causes a discrepancy in our memories. The aforementioned factors are the primary reasons behind the occurrence of déjà vu.
So, medically speaking, you do not experience déjà vu because you remember something from the past. Déjà vu occurs when you are reeling from stress, anxiety, burnout, or seizures.
Why Do We Experience Déjà Vu Often?
Almost 70-80% of the population experiences déjà vu, healthy and neurologically disturbed minds alike.
There are many theories regarding the occurrence of déjà vu such as the theory of neural recycling, cognitive dissonance, and precognition. Some people even believe that precognitive dreams and déjà vu are somehow interrelated with each other.
However, these are just theories and have no scientific basis.
Researchers have studied déjà vu for a long time. The studies conducted show that this eerie phenomenon has links with the neurological system. An abnormal neurological condition known as epileptic electrical discharge is what gives people the impression that the event or experience they are having right now happened in the past.
However, people with healthy brains also experience déjà vu. According to some studies, déjà vu is caused by a disparity in memory that causes an incorrect formation of a detailed memory from a novel sensory experience.
Other studies show that students, people who frequently travel, or anyone who is worn out or under pressure are more prone to experience this sensation. This is because fatigue and stress can influence our memories, which is inadvertently linked to déjà vu.
Getting déjà vu is quite common. Even the healthiest of minds experience them. However, if you experience déjà vu frequently, like more than a few times a month, visit a neurologist. This may be a symptom of neurotic epilepsy.
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