What is Déjà vu? And why it occurs?

What is Déjà vu? And why it occurs?
image credit : TED-Ed

What is Déjà Vu?

Those moments in your life, where the current situation feels like it's happened before! You're certain it has, but you don't know when, or how it became so familiar. That familiar felling, is known as "Déjà vu".

So After this, What science says about this phenomenon, And

Is It Possible To Observe It?

Well! Unluckily, there isn't one single explanation for Déjà vu. 

Actually It's difficult to scientifically study déjà vu, because there's no reliable way to cause it to happen.

Is It Possible To Observe Déjà vu?
image credit : TED-Ed

Experience of Déjà vu is brief and it occurs without a notice, which makes it nearly impossible for scientists to observe and study it.

And, also No one can't simply sit around and wait for it to happen, this can take years. and It has no physical demonstration (means can not physically represented).

And in studies, it's described as a sensation or feeling.

Because of this lack of strong evidences, there's been surplus of speculation (means forming of a theory without firm evidence ) over the years.

So, Is No One Is Here To Explain It?

Émile Boirac explain Déjà vu
image credit : TED-Ed

In 1876, Émile Boirac ( A french philosopher, parapsychologist and writer) first introduced or used the term "Déjà vu". As a French term meaning "already seen"

Actually, Here more than 40 theories attempt, to explain this phenomenon. but Still, recent enhancements in Neuroimaging ( uses of various techniques to image the structure and function of the nervous system. ) and Cognitive psychology ( scientific study of mental processes such as "attention, memory, language use, perception, creativity, problem solving, and thinking".) narrow down the prospects of Déjà vu.

But to understand this phenomenon, Here is  the, three most prevalent theories! Which try to expalin, Why déjà vu occurs!

Here Is The First One, "Dual Processing".

Déjà vu : dual processing
image credit : TED-Ed

Now, to explain this theory, we'll need an action.

Déjà vu : scene in restaurant
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So, Imagine a scene in a restaurant! 

Where a waiter dropping a tray of dishes. 

As the scene unfold or passes, your sensors process or capture huge information like: 

The smell of pasta, Waiter's flailing arms and, his cry for help and much more.

information processed into a single moment.
image credit : TED-Ed

Within a milliseconds of time, this information go through your sensors ( like your eyes, nose and ears ) and your brain processes these information.

Generally, Most of the time, everything is recorded in into a single moment.

Déjà vu occurs when some delay in pathways.
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But sometimes, when most of the information through your sensors like smell of pasta through your nose and waiters's cry for help through your ears. Reach to your brain first.

And there is a delay of information through any sensor like your eyes sends visual images of falling waiter's after some delay, by any causes.

late information as a separate event.
image credit : TED-Ed

Then, The difference in arrivals of information through your sensors, causes your brain, to illustrate the late information as a separate event.

Means, your brain process, smell of pasta through your nose and waiters's cry for help through your ears as a separate event.

And falling waiter through your eyes as another event. 

Déjà vu feels like it's happened before
image credit : TED-Ed

And When you recall the event ( waiter's flailing arms through your eyes ) in your mind as a prerecorded moment. 

Because, you have already a event ( smell of pasta through your nose and waiters's cry for help through your ears ) somewhere in your brain. It feels like it's happened before. 

Because in a sense, it has.

Now This Time To Second Theory, "Hologram Theory".

Déjà vu : hologram theory
image credit : TED-Ed

Actually this theory deals with the confusion of past rather than a mistakes in present ( as in previous theory ). 

explain hologram theory
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Now again, imagine the previous restaurant example. But this time, we'll use the tablecloth to examine it. 

And to understand this theory assumes, As your brain scan squares patterns of tablecloth, may be a distant memory comes up from deep part of your brain. 

memories are stored in the form of holograms
image credit : TED-Ed


Now, According to this theory, Because memories are stored in the form of holograms inside your brain, 

And according to this, your brain just need only one piece of information to see the whole picture. 

Means, That square patterns on your tablecloth may be attached with some memory in deep parts of your brain. 

brain identified tablecloth from the past
image credit : TED-Ed

And when, your brain identified the tablecloth (or tablecloth's square patterns ) with one from the past, ( assume ) maybe from your grandmother's home.

when your grandmother slip by mistake, when she bring pasta for you. 

And then,  instead of remembering that you've seen it at your grandmother's home, your brain has called up the old memory from your grandmother's home, and mix up with new one in restaurant, without identifying it.

This can leaves you stuck, with familiarity, you think you see that exact event before. but your brain doesn't identifying it.

Even though you've never comes before in this restaurant.

You've just seen that tablecloth and just fail to identify it.

Are You Paying Attention? Our Last Theory Is "Divided Attention".

Déjà vu : divided attention
image credit : TED-Ed

Now, according to this theory, when your brain subconsciously observes an environment. While you're consciously distracted by one particular object. 

And, When your attention returns, you feel as, I've been here before!

brain record everything subconsciously
image credit : TED-Ed

For example, you just focused on the fork on the table, 

And didn't observe the tablecloth or the falling waiter. Although your brain has been recording everything unconsciously without of your information. It's been doing below your conscious awareness.

when you pull out yourself from divided attention
image credit : TED-Ed

But, When you finally pull out yourself away from the fork, you might think, you've been here before, because actually you have, only you just weren't paying attention.


So, What The Final Conclusion About This Psychological Phenomenon? And, Why It Occurs?

Conclusion About This Psycological Phenomenon déjà vu
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SO, While all of these theories share the common features of déjà vu, none of them gives the conclusive source of the phenomenon. like a stomach ache, it can be due to many causes.

Still, We are waiting for researchers and inventers to come up with the new ways to capture this fleeting moment.

So, What We Should Do, When We Feel Like "Déjà Vu"Ooccurs.

What We Should Do, When We Feel Like Déjà VuOoccurs.
image credit : TED-Ed

We can examine the moment ourselves. So, The next time, when you get "Déjà vu".

Take a moment and think about it.

Is your brain just act or observing slow?

Is there a familiar object anywhere?

Have you been distracted by something?

Or is it something else?


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And, if you have some suggestion, feel free to share with us.

Thanks for reading!

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