The mystery of déjà vu
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/06/2022 (345 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Have you ever had the uncanny sensation that you have already experienced what is currently happening? Identified as an experience of déjà vu, the feeling that a certain situation has happened before is said to be quite common and experienced by as many as two-thirds of all individuals.
Déjà vu can be defined as the illusion of remembering scenes and events, when experienced for the very first time. Déjà vu is a French phrase that translates to “already seen.”
Déjà vu occurs without warning and is a brief experience, lasting only a matter of seconds. Having experienced the phenomena a number of times myself, the strange feeling always stops me in my tracks and leaves me wondering how this could be happening.
Although the actual cause of déjà vu cannot be confirmed, there are said to be many different theories as to the origin of this experience.
One theory suggests that déjà vu can occur when we encounter a situation that is similar to an actual memory, but we can’t recall the memory. This leaves the person with a feeling of familiarity they cannot explain.
Other researchers believe that déjà vu can occur when there is a short in the circuits of our brain causing new information to go directly to our long-term memory instead of stopping in the short-term memory. Others look to the rhinal cortex, an area of the brain that signals when something feels familiar. This theory suggests that déjà vu takes place when the rhinal cortex is triggered without the memories to back it up.
Although research seems to support the theory that the experience of déjà vu is related to the memory centres of the brain, there are other theorists that believe the phenomenon is sensory based. This theory suggests that a certain sight or smell might trigger our subconscious mind into recalling a time that we have seen a similar thing.
Other theorists share the opinion that feelings of familiarity relate to a psychic experience, such as remembering something you have experienced in a dream or a previous life. Although viewed as a rather extreme way of thinking, there are also those who believe in the existence of a parallel universe and think that the reason that we feel as if we have experienced something already, is because we actually did.
With such a range of theories I am not sure what to believe, but I have enjoyed thinking about all of the possibilities.
Transcona community correspondent
Cindy Murdoch is a community correspondent for Transcona. She can be contacted at email@example.com