Deja Vu is a kind of mysterious feeling that occurs when we start feeling that a new situation is familiar, even when there is solid evidence that the situation could not have previously occurred. For a long time, this uncanny and unnatural sensation has been assigned to everything from paranormal disturbances to neurological disorders. Although a definite, solid attribution behind déjà vu remains unknown to date, four hypothesized explanations that include different categories of experiences and potential causes behind déjà vu are:
- Dual processing
- Neurological explanations
Déjà vu can be linked to shortcomings in the memory systems of the brain, leading the sensory information to avoid and bypass short-term memory and reach long-term memory instead. This may produce the confused and complicated feeling that we have experienced a new moment before.
It is commonly believed that déjà vu can be the result of the collision of two different streams of awareness and the experience of considering a current situation, together with the feeling that this is an incorrect and fallacious recollection. A key feature in this experience is that the person perceives that they have not seen this before. Sometimes, what occurs is a consequence of split perception and someone is treating a sight twice because they may have been diverted or their vision was hindered for some reason.
The second perception, instantly after the first one, becomes the one that is experienced consciously, but it feels unknown because we are not aware of the first experience, which we processed partially only.
There are different reasons and triggers behind this mysterious feeling of Déjà Vu, but the most common factors are being busy, tired, and a little stressed out. People who are drained and exhausted tend to experience the feeling of déjà vu more. This is apparently because fatigue and stress are related to what likely causes déjà vu. While anyone can experience déjà vu, those who experience it multiple times share some characteristics in common. According to research, these are:
- High income
- Well educated
- Persistent travelers
- People who remember their dreams
- People who are politically liberal
- People in the age group 15-25
- People who experience epilepsy
Epilepsy is the most usual neurological condition associated with déjà vu, as it affects the temporal lobe of your brain, where vision is analyzed. There are various kinds of seizures, but focal onset-aware seizures, are the most common kind, often associated with déjà vu experiences.
Déjà vu has no serious impact on all healthy individuals, other than a momentary feeling of confusion. However, if you experience déjà vu frequently i.e., a few times a week or more, you need to visit a neurologist to be evaluated for epilepsy or any other neurological conditions associated.
Hence it is concluded that most people experience déjà vu with no adverse health effects. In some rare cases, déjà vu can be a sign of a neurological disorder. Individuals with epilepsy often have focal seizures that occur in one area of the brain, sometimes in the temporal lobe where we store and arrange memories. These are called temporal lobe seizures.
Déjà vu describes the uncanny phenomenon that you have encountered something already, even when you know that you have never experienced it. Experts generally agree that this feeling probably relates to memory in some way. So, if you have déjà vu, you might have experienced a similar event before, but you just can’t remember it.
If it only happens occasionally, you probably don’t need to worry about it even though it can feel a little awkward and strange. But you could notice it more if you’re tired or under a lot of stress. If it’s become somewhat of a regular experience for you, and you don’t have seizure-related symptoms, taking steps to release your stress and get more rest may help.
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Written by: Tahira Rubab Hafeez