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  • Shamika Daga


Updated: Jan 13, 2021

"Wait, have I been here before?” - this thought often pops into our head when we have an uncanny feeling of already having experienced a new situation once before, this feeling is known as déjà vu which is a French phrase that literally translates “already seen”. It was a French philosopher, Emile Boirac who first gave name to this feeling in the 1870s.

Déjà vu is a very common experience and almost two-thirds of the population have had it. We have often read about it in books and seen it in movies, but what actually is the cause of this déjà vu? This effect has been long thought of alongside various other paranormal events but researchers are unable to come to a conclusion as to its real cause because it is something that happens without warning and ends as quickly as it began, hence studying it in the laboratory is not very easy. Although there are some theories put across by psychologists - -Divided(split) perception: Our brains possibly process a situation in a quick and shallow way before we actually become fully aware of it which then gives us a jolt of “having seen it before”.

-Dual processing: Incoming signals enter the temporal lobe from both the hemispheres of our brain, one a millisecond later than the other, and it’s in this moment of delay that déjà vu occurs.

-Memory recall: evidence has been found to suggest déjà vu can happen in response to an event that resembles something we have experienced but don’t remember.

-It is said to be the brain checking if its memories are correct.

-Quantum entanglement (existence of a parallel universe): Fringe theorists believe that the reason we perceive these situations as something we've already experienced in the past is that a parallel version of us has — in another universe.

- Some think déjà vu is a sign that you're recalling an experience from a past life.

Given above were some common explanations of the phenomenon déjà vu, though no one is one hundred percent sure. Next time if you find yourself wandering down an alleyway covered by a canopy of trees or having a conversation with your best friend and the feeling of déjà vu suddenly strikes, these are some theories you could cater to your mind.

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