Have you ever been somewhere that you have never been before, but felt like there was something about it that struck a chord in your mind and seemed familiar? If so, you’ve experienced the mental phenomenon known as déjà vu.
Déjà vu happens to most people but it’s something that no one has yet to fully understand. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of people have experienced déjà vu on at least one occasion in their lives. When it happens, one of our senses – be it our sight, sound, smell or taste – can convince us that we have lived through an experience before even if we know on a rational level that we have not.
Scientists have come up with physiological hypotheses of why déjà vu exists but to date nothing has been proven conclusively. It is important to stop here and note that déjà vu, which is being convinced that a first visit to a place seems known or familiar even when it is not, is not the same as other similar phenomena such as precognition and clairvoyance.
Precognition is when an individual has a premonition about an event that will occur in the future. Clairvoyance is when an individual is able to perceive something that is out of the natural range of any of the five senses. These two phenomena are closely linked to déjà vu but are not exactly the same.
Types of Déjà Vu
If déjà vu is looked at in a broad manner it can be broken down into two categories. These categories include associative déjà vu and biological déjà vu.
Associative déjà vu is more common. This is the kind of déjà vu that the average healthy individual experiences. In this case the person can see, hear, smell, or touch something that evokes a feeling in them that is associated with a similar sensation to something they have experienced in the past. Researchers believe this kind of déjà vu is connected to the memory centers found in the brain.
Biological déjà vu happens to those individuals who suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy. In fact, these people often have an unusual experience such as this before they have a seizure. Déjà vu of this kind is often described as being very intense. It’s an easier way for scientists to study the phenomenon and has helped them identify the parts of the brain that play a role in the sensations that arise. However, many researchers believe that associative déjà vu, sometimes called typical déjà vu, and biological déjà vu are very different in nature.
Theories Regarding Déjà Vu
Many individuals, including those in the scientific and medical community, have tried to explain away the phenomena of déjà vu. Is it a psychic phenomenon or is it not? Why do some people experience it and not others? What is at work here when a person believes they have visited a place before but in reality have never set foot in that spot? These are all questions that at present defy answers.
Parapsychologists are psychologists who study paranormal phenomena. These professionals have theorized that déjà vu is a past life experience re-emerging in a person’s mind. Some individuals believe that it’s an emotional response to an event that taps into some incident from the past.
Still others believe that the brain is short circuiting and that it is a neurochemical action taking place that has no connection whatsoever to any life events. In other words, an individual is overcome by a strange feeling and connects it to a memory when really it is something that is all together new and unfamiliar to them.
At the present time déjà vu remains yet another one of the fascinating mysteries of life that involves secrets locked away in the brain that it is not ready to reveal. It is believed that the sense of sight is most often connected with the experience but that, too, is up for debate and requires more research. The knowledge we have gleaned about déjà vu is only the tip of a much larger iceberg.