Understanding Deja Vu?

How Deja Vu Works?

Déjà vu is a French term that literally means "already seen" and has several variations, including déjà vécu, already experienced; déjà senti, already thought; and déjà visité, already visited. French scientist Emile Boirac, one of the first to study this strange phenomenon, gave the subject its name in 1876.

There are often references to déjà vu that aren't true déjà vu. Researchers have their own definitions, but generally déjà vu is described as the feeling that you've seen or experienced something before when you know you haven't. The most common misuse of the term déjà vu seems to be with precognitive experiences, experiences where someone gets a feeling that they know exactly what's going to happen next, and it does. An important distinction is that déjà vu is experienced during an event, not before. Precognitive experiences -- if they are real -- show things that will happen in the future, not things that you've already experienced. (However, one theory about deja vu deals with precognitive dreams that give us a deja vu feeling afterwards.

What Causes Deja Vu?

According to many studies, approximately two-thirds of individuals have experienced at least one episode of déjà vu in their life. Understanding how memory storage works may shed some light on why some experience it more than others.Episodes of déjà vu may be closely related to how memory is stored in the brain. Retention of long-term memories, events and facts are stored in the temporal lobes, and, specific parts of the temporal lobe are also integral for the detection of familiarity, and the recognition of certain events. The takeaway: The temporal lobe is where you make and store your memories.While déjà vu's connection to the temporal lobe and memory retention is still relatively unknown, clues about the condition were derived from people who suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy (a condition in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed -- causing seizures). Findings suggest that déjà vu events may be caused by an electrical malfunction in the brain.

What exactly is deja vu?

More recently déjà vu has been explained in terms of information processing. For instance, Herman Sno, one of the world's leading experts on the topic, has proposed that memories are stored in a format that is similar to that used to store holographic images. Most people think about holography as a way of creating cool 3D images and as an excuse to play with laser beams. But the aspect of holography that is central to Sno's thesis is how holograms store information. In particular, Sno points out that unlike traditional photography, each section of a hologram contains all the information needed to produce the entire picture. The smaller the section one uses, however, the less precise (and fuzzier) the resultant image becomes. According to Sno, human memory works in an analogous way. Déjà vu experiences occur when one¿s current situation spuriously matches one of these fuzzy images of a past event. It's rather like convincing yourself that you recognize the person in a blurry security camera picture.

What is Deja Vu?

Deja vu is a strong sense of global familiarity that occurs in a seemingly novel situation. Sometimes we experience a feeling of "Have I done that already?", "Have I been here before?". Those feelings are triggered by split-second delay in transferring info from one side of the brain to another.

Been there done that.... or have I?

Have you experienced that overwhelming feeling of familiarity? For example, have you been to a store and felt you've been here before? This sensation is known as deja vu. Deja vu occurs randomly with no prior warning. The earliest reports date back from as far as 1876 Emilie Bairac declared the term deja vu. Psychics were quick to latch on to the phenomenon that we had all lived passed lives believing that these experiences were just from things we encountered in our previous lives.