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Déjà Vu: The Science Behind the Eerie Feeling of Familiarity

Déjà vu

Déjà vu is French for ‘already seen’. It is a feeling that the situation(or surrounding) is familiar subjectively, but unfamiliar objectively.

Almost two-thirds of individuals have experienced Déjà vu at least once in their lifetime, including blind people.

Déjà vu is a fleeting, intangible experience, making it hard to measure, and is also highly subjective.

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Déjà Vu: The Science Behind the Eerie Feeling of Familiarity

Déjà Vu: The Science Behind the Eerie Feeling of Familiarity

https://www.thoughtco.com/causes-of-deja-vu-4159448

thoughtco.com

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Key Ideas

That Familiar Feeling

Déjà vu is French for ‘already seen’. It is a feeling that the situation(or surrounding) is familiar subjectively, but unfamiliar objectively.

Almost two-thirds of individuals have experienced Déjà vu at least once in their lifetime, including blind people.

Déjà vu is a fleeting, intangible experience, making it hard to measure, and is also highly subjective.

Déjà vu

Déjà vu is French for ‘already seen’. It is a feeling that the situation(or surrounding) is familiar subjectively, but unfamiliar objectively.

Almost two-thirds of individuals have experienced Déjà vu at least once in their lifetime, including blind people.

Déjà vu is a fleeting, intangible experience, making it hard to measure, and is also highly subjective.

Our Memory

Déjà vu can be explained in terms of our memory:

  • Single Event Familiarity: When one element is familiar but other elements are not.
Example: When you see a person you vaguely recognize(like your barber) out in the street.


  • Gestalt Familiarity: When the layout and surroundings seem familiar.

Example: A layout of a room is similar to a room you have seen before but some details are not matching.

Our Neurology

Déjà vu can be explained in terms of our neurological activity:


  • Spontaneous Brain Activity: When a part of your brain is engaged with memory, thoughts can overlap, and one can experience a false sense of familiarity. The complex memory structures result in cross-connections.
  • Neural transmission speed: Déjà vu can be felt when the various parts of one’s brain that transmit information get disrupted, or if the information arrives at different times, like a traffic jam in the brain’s highways.

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