Meaning “already seen” in French, ‘déjà vu’ is the eerie sensation that you has already experienced something before when consciously know that you have not. For example, you are at a backdoor BBQ talking to one of your friends and they offer you a hamburger. Then all of the sudden, you feel the very strange yet strong feeling that you have been in this exact place and had your friend offer you a burger in the exact way that it just occurred. This sensation stays in the mind for 10-20 seconds and then it can’t be grasped again in the same way that it hit you originally. And the sensation itself isn’t even the weirdest thing about deja vu….
For starters, science has yet to come up with a reason as to why or how deja vu occurs. Obviously it would be difficult to study because of the random nature of the occurences. Anyone who has ever a deja vu (approximately 70% of the population) can tell you that it happens out of nowhere and doesn’t last for very long. So even with advanced brain imaging and other techniques of brain study, scientists have incredible difficulty putting their finger on deja vu.
Things We Do Know:
1) Epileptics commonly experience intense deja vu’s right before going into seizure. This has led scientists to speculate that deja vu is caused by an improper electric discharge within the brain which might cause an erroneous sensation of memory.
2) deja vu is most commonly reported between the ages of 15 and 25, thought it is experienced by people of all ages with frequency varying from person to person.
3) The sensation of deja vu, itself, is definitively eerier and weird. It’s not like “Oh, I think I’ve been here and done this before!” It is the very strange and eerie feeling that you have done this EXACT same thing before but for some reason you cannot remember it. The feeling isn’t negative, but it’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world.
Another plausible theory about deja vu is that are brains are confusing the situation in reality to something that we have experienced in dreams of fantasies. It is well proven that according to the brain, there is a very fine line between the world within thoughts and the world of reality. For example, studies have consistently shown that imagining yourself practicing a backflip is just as effective as actually practicing it. With this knowledge, it’s easy to see why deja vu could result from having done something similiar in a dream.
However, once you’ve had a deja vu experience, it’s difficult to buy into that last theory. Unless you had a dream in which you were in that specific backyard, talking to that specific friend, and he/she offered you the hamburger with the exact same hand motion, tone of voice and diction, there has to be some other cause of deja vu.
Regardless of the origin of deja vu, the idea and sensation of it are pretty cool. I hope you’re part of the 70% that has experienced it before because it is certainly different from any other feeling you’ve ever had.
If you have had a vivid enough deja vu so that you still can re-call it today, share it below!