The mind is the most fascinating element in our lives. Our brain contains 10-1000 trillion synapses, and it is pretty incredible to consider that we are basically a super computer. Hooray us!
However, there are certain mysteries that surround our brains, and déjà vu is one of them.
Déjà vu is French and literally translates to “already seen”. Those who have experienced it (including me) describe it to be the extreme feeling of familiarity in a situation that hasn’t happened before but you could swear it had already happened. For example, you walk out of a washroom of a random hotel and you feel like you are enacting an exact sequence that has happened before. Or, you are braiding your hair at your friend’s house and you feel like the exact situation has happened before, to the T. This phenomenon occurs in almost 60 to 80 per cent of the population. However, despite its enormous coverage, it is still quite misunderstood in the scientific community.
Some think déjà vu is a recollection of the past; some consider them to be paranormal occurrences or prophecies. However, in modern times, scientists reject this idea, and regard it to be a neurological anomaly.
It is associated with occurring majorly among the youth and is supposed to stop as one gets older. Most occurrences have been discovered among the age group of 15 to 25. Déjà vu has been associated with temporal-lobe epilepsy and is related to epileptic discharge in the brain. However, there aren’t any concrete evidences that suggest how and why these fleeting incidences occur.
One group of researchers claim that people who experience déjà vu have their recognition memory triggered by certain situations that haven’t occurred yet. However, there is also the dream-based explanation. This states that many people who have responded to having déjà vu think of themselves as enacting a scene they have seen in a random dream.
One explanation given by researchers is cryptomnesia which refers to lost information in the brain (however information that is stored nonetheless). Some scientists suggest that memory is a store of reconstruction and not remembering particular memories directly. These reconstructed memories might make us feel a sense of familiarity with a particular event that hasn’t occurred before.
Certain scientists have also tried using virtual reality to explain this phenomenon. This has led them to believe that déjà vu arises when we face a situation similar to an actual memory of ours but we aren’t able to recall it. Thus we are left with an eerily familiar feeling.
Again, some regard it to be a short in the circuitry of our brains. There are a host of other theories as well. Ultimately, déjà vu is indeed a mystery that hasn’t been solved as of yet.
However, there is nothing to worry about. As long as your déjà vu experiences aren’t linked with a form of epilepsy, you can relax and not be spooked out. Yes, déjà vu feels creepy but at least for a moment you can feel like a psychic. Nonetheless, we wish a valid explanation was formulated to explain this event.