Déjà vu is just one of many uncanny kinds of déjà experiences | Psyche Ideas
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The defining features of a true déjà experience are sudden shock and bafflement, accompanied by the unsettling conviction that what one is experiencing is impossible – and yet it’s happening.
This is different to feelings of vague familiarity with things that remind you of something from your past, or someone you know or have known. Such experiences are not uncommon.
Historically, ‘déjà vu’ has been used as an umbrella term to describe a range of possible déjà experiences. Physiologists, for instance, have opined that its origin lies in delayed communication between the cerebral hemispheres; psychologists figure these experiences must be due to memory glitches (that the person has seen something in his or her past, and a present situation recalls it); neurologists say they are often caused by temporal lobe epilepsy; and some parapsychologists say they may arise from precognitive dreams. Others prefer reincarnation as an explanation.
In his 1981 doctoral thesis, the South African neuropsychiatrist Vernon Neppe listed 21 variants of déjà vu. Among them were the aforementioned déjà vécu, as well as déjà visité (‘already visited’), déjà rêvé (‘already dreamt’), déjà entendu (‘already heard’), déjà senti (‘already smelt’), and déjà lu (‘already read’).
It was Neppe, in fact, who first proposed that we place the various types under the heading ‘déjà experiences’.
Some just find the experiences an intriguing quirk, something fun to think about and ponder. Then there are those who find them scary: they’re afraid everything is predetermined and that they have no free will. Some say they find it reassuring – it suggests that they’re on the right track in life. For others, the precognitive element opens them up to metaphysical and non-materialistic views of reality.
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