Do you ever get that feeling you’ve been to a place before? Or that you have seen a person or place in the past, despite the fact you never have? This is a phenomenon known as deja-vu. In French, this translates as “already seen” and was first described in written form in the 1800s. However, it wasn’t until 1979, when Dr. Vernon Neppe proposed the universal definition we have today, that deja-vu became a part of public consciousness.
The best way of defining deja-vu is that it is like some kind of temporal lobe schizophrenia that causes you to have feelings of familiarity with an undefined past. Deja-vu is a complex phenomenon, and there are many different theories concerning what causes it and why it happens. Here are some of the most fascinating things you definitely need to know about deja-vu.
It’s more common than you’d expect
One of the most surprising things about deja-vu is the fact that it is actually more common than you might think. Indeed, it is a phenomenon that is believed to affect around 70% of the population and is most common in people aged between 15 and 25. Also, in those who report experiencing deja-vu, it is believed they experience it at least once per year. This sounds like it would be pretty creepy, but also kind of cool too!
It can be caused by meditation
Now, it is believed that there are a lot of different things that can cause deja-vu to happen, but one of the most unexpected is actually meditation. Individuals who claim to meditate regularly reported that they experienced deja-vu more frequently than when they weren’t meditating. Because of the mental process involved in deja-vu, it seems highly probable that meditation, which strengthens and develops our brains, makes us more susceptible to these experiences.
A lot of studies have been carried out about what can cause deja-vu, and one school of thought is that it is down to some kind of memory malfunction. This could be caused by new information skipping the storage part of the brain, and heading straight to long-term memory. This can also happen when the rhinal cortex is triggered, giving us a feeling of familiarity, but one that is difficult to pin down effectively. False memory and dissociative experiences can also go a long way toward causing deja-vu, but this is not an exact science, and some theories look at other reasons.
Deja-vu isn’t always deja-vu
Now, it is also important to remember (sorry!) that deja-vu is not always necessarily deja-vu. In fact, it is likely that in a lot of situations, what your brain is experiencing is not actually deja-vu, but an experience that actually happened, and that you’ve forgotten. In fact, in most instances, when you think you are experiencing deja-vu, it is much more likely that this is what is happening. Often it is a childhood memory that has since been forgotten, and the subconscious remembers it in the moment.
This is one of the most curious and interesting phenomena that exists in the world of science, and something we continue to learn about. There are a lot of factors that play a role in understanding deja-vu, and perhaps we aren’t supposed to! These are some of the key things you should know about this psychological phenomenon so you can look out for it in case it happens again.