Wow Phenomenon – Déjà vu

Déjà vu  – Is it a short circuit in some corner of our brain, some long-dreamed dream or perhaps our ability to predict things? I’ve already been here. I’ve done this before. I know what will happen next. Some say that déjà vu means – you are on the right track.

Is it really the case? What was your experience like? Most of us have experienced being in a new situation and feeling certain feeling that we have been experienced before, but we have difficulties understanding how it is possible. It’s the feeling, or impression that you have already witnessed or experienced a current situation.

Déjà vu phenomenon: “already seen”

Déjà vu, from French, literally “already seen”, is the  phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced had been experienced in the past.

The psychologist Edward B. Titchener in his book 1928 A Textbook of Psychology, explained déjà vu as caused by a person having a brief glimpse of an object or situation, before the brain has completed “constructing” a full conscious perception of the experience. Such a “partial perception” then results in a false sense of familiarity.

The most accepted explanation –  memory, giving the false impression that an experience is “being recalled”

The explanation that has mostly been accepted of déjà vu is not that it is an act of “precognition” or “prophecy” , but rather that it is an anomaly of memory, giving the false impression that an experience is “being recalled”. This explanation is supported by the fact that the sense of “recollection” at the time is strong in most cases, but that the circumstances of the “previous” experience (when, where, and how the earlier experience occurred) are uncertain or believed to be impossible.

As well, as time passes, subjects may exhibit a strong recollection of having the “unsettling” experience of déjà vu itself, but little or no recollection of the specifics of the event(s) or circumstance(s) which were the subject of the déjà vu experience itself (the events that were being “remembered”). This may result from an “overlap” between the neurological systems responsible for short-term memory and those responsible for long-term memory, resulting in (memories of) recent events erroneously being perceived as being in the more distant past.

One theory is the events are stored into memory before the conscious part of the brain even receives the information and processes it. However, this explanation has been criticized that the brain would not be able to store information without a sensory input first. Another theory suggests the brain may process sensory input (perhaps all sensory input) as a “memory-in-progress”, and that therefore during the event itself one believes it to be a past memory. In a survey, Brown had concluded that approximately two-thirds of the population have had déjà vu experiences.

Early researchers and scientist have even looked into genetics – there is not currently a gene associated with déjà vu

Early researchers tried to establish a link between déjà vu and serious psychopathology, but failed to find the experience of some diagnostic value. There does not seem to be a special association between déjà vu and schizophrenia or other psychiatric conditions.

Scientists have even looked into genetics when considering déjà vu. Although there is not currently a gene associated with déjà vu, the LGII gene on chromosome 10 is being studied for a possible link. Certain forms of the gene are associated with a mild form of epilepsy and, though by no means a certainty, déjà vu occurs often enough during seizures that researchers have reason to suspect a link.

Pharmacology – Certain drugs increase the chances of déjà vu occurring in the user

Certain drugs increase the chances of déjà vu occurring in the user. Some pharmaceutical drugs, when taken together, have also been implicated in the cause of déjà vu. Taiminen and Jääskeläinen (2001) reported the case of an otherwise healthy male who started experiencing intense and recurrent sensations of déjà vu upon taking the drugs to relieve flu symptoms. He found the experience so interesting that he completed the full course of his treatment and reported it to the psychologists to write up as a case study.

Memory-based explanations

The similarity between a déjà-vu-eliciting stimulus and an existing, but different, memory trace may lead to the sensation. In an effort to experimentally reproduce the sensation, Banister and Zangwill (1941) used hypnosis to give participants posthypnotic amnesia for material they had already seen. When this was later re-encountered, the restricted activation caused thereafter by the posthypnotic amnesia resulted in three of the 10 participants reporting what the authors termed “paramnesias”.

Another possible explanation for the phenomenon of déjà vu is the occurrence of “cryptomnesia”, which is where information learned is forgotten but nevertheless stored in the brain, and similar occurrences invoke the contained knowledge, leading to a feeling of familiarity because of the situation, event or emotional/vocal content, known as “déjà vu”.

Some experts suggest that memory is a process of reconstruction

Some experts suggest that memory is a process of reconstruction, rather than a recall of fixed, established events. This reconstruction comes from stored components, involving elaborations, distortions and omissions. Each successive recall of an event is merely a recall of the last reconstruction. The proposed sense of recognition (déjà vu) involves achieving a good ‘match’ between the present experience and our stored data. This reconstruction however, may now differ so much from the original event that we ‘know’ we have never experienced it before, even though it seems similar.

Parapsychology

Some parapsyhologist  have advocated other interpretations of déjà vu. Ian Stevenson and other researchers have written that some cases of déjá vu might be explained on the basis of reincarnation. Anthony Peake has written that déjà vu experiences occur as people are living their lives not for the first time but at least the second.

Alternative explanations of déjà vu

Alternative explanations associate déjà vu with prophecy, past life memories, clairvoyance, or a mystic signpost indicating fulfillment of a predetermined condition on the journey of life. fundamental cause is still a mystery. Another intriguing possibility is that there is a hidden connection between déjà vu and the existence of parallel universes. As some already know, the multiverse is a theory in which our universe is not the only one, but states that many universes exist parallel to each other. These distinct universes within the multiverse theory are called parallel universes.

Quantum physics about Deja Vu

According to Dr. Kaku, quantum physics states that there is the possibility that déjà vu might be caused by your ability to “flip between different universes”. Professor Steve Weinberg, the famous theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner, supports the idea of a multiverse. Weinberg says that there are an infinite number of parallel realities coexisting with us in the same room.

“There are hundreds of different radio waves being broadcast all around you from distant stations. At any given instant, your office or car or living room is full of these radio waves. However if you turn on a radio, you can listen to only one frequency at a time; these other frequencies are not in phase with each other.

Each station has a different frequency, a different energy. As a result, your radio can only be turned to one broadcast at a time. Likewise, in our universe we are tuned into the frequency that corresponds to physical reality. But there are an infinite number of parallel realities coexisting with us in the same room, although we cannot tune into them.” While your radio is tuned to pick up a certain frequency and thus a single radio station, our universe consists of atoms that are oscillating at a unique frequency that other universes are not vibrating at. Perhaps our déjà vu experiences are a window into a parallel universe.

Related phenomena:

1. Jamais vu

Jamais vu (from French, meaning “never seen”) is a term in psychology which is used to describe any familiar situation which is not recognized by the observer. Often described as the opposite of déjà vu, jamais vu involves a sense of eeriness and the observer’s impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before. Jamais vu is more commonly explained as when a person momentarily does not recognize a word, person, or place that they already know.

2. Presque vu

Presque vu is similar to, but distinct from, the phenomenon called tip of the tongue, a situation where someone cannot recall a familiar word or name, but with effort eventually recalls the elusive memory. In contrast, déjà vu is a feeling that the present situation has occurred before, but the details are elusive because the situation never happened before. Presque vu (from French, meaning “almost seen”) is the sensation of being on the brink of an epiphany. Often very disorienting and distracting, presque vu rarely leads to an actual breakthrough. Frequently, one experiencing presque vu will say that they have something “on the tip of my tongue”.

3. Déjà entendu

Déjà entendu, (literally “already heard”) is the experience of feeling sure that one has already heard something, even though the exact details are uncertain and/or were perhaps imagined.

In popular culture:

1. Film

Déjà vu provides a plot point in The Matrix, a 1999 science-action film.  The protagonist,Neo, glances at a black cat and comments that he has just experienced déjà vu. Those with a knowledge of ‘The Matrix’ and its internal workings state that déjà vu means something within the Matrix was altered from its prior state and is referred to as a “glitch”.

2. Television

Deja Vu was the third episode of the second season of Monthy Python Flying Circus, a British comedy program.  In the Star Trek, The Next Generation episode, ‘Cause and Effect’, The U.S.S Enterprise is destroyed in a collision with another ship close to a temporal anomaly. This causes the event to repeat over and over which in turn causes several crew members to have feelings of Déjà Vu.

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