The winner of last month’s Patreon poll is today’s episode, Déjà vu, the phenomenon translates to “already seen”. Today we shall discuss some of the explanations and theories behind the reasoning for this odd experience. We’ve all had our own moments with Déjà vu, but the question as to why or how it happens. So perhaps this episode shall enlighten some answers for these lingering questions.
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Déjà vu, what exactly is Deja Vu? We’ve all experienced it before, in some way or another; I mean the translation of the phrase literally means “already seen”. So at its core, it can truly relate to anyone. There are deviations when it comes to Deja Vu experiences, with some people seeing the event with a paranormal lens. Either seeing it as a type of prophetic sight or precognition. While the other half of the discussion falls under the scientific side of things. Research leans towards the idea that this is made by memory recollection, issues with our brains and even illness that is inherent.
In fact, while we’ll briefly talk about the ideas within the paranormal camp, most of what we shall be bringing up falls under the scientific umbrella, as like many unexplained phenomena, there are several theories and possibilities out there. So let’s begin with that brief paranormal aspect of these events, and the sort of relations that come from it.
Again, with the more supernatural side of the argument. Deja Vu is close to other mental phenomena such as precognition, prophecy or future-sight. This can often times be attributed to those believed to have some sort of higher insight, a connection to energies unseen or possibly a link to some higher power, such as oracles in ancient times. The distinction between however, is that Deja Vu is clearly the sensation of reliving or revisiting a moment of time. As most of these abilities are associated with glimpsing the future in some way.
Some believe that perhaps these future moments are unknown by the individual. Such as in dreams, so that in turn once the event occurs, so to does the sensation of Deja Vu. Like most of the arguments relating to Deja Vu, these are just theories. Even more so since there isn’t any solid scientific evidence to support these claims. The only thing going for this side, is the belief and practice of such abilities goes back several centuries. Regardless of the validity of the claims, that sort of history still warrants some respect and consideration.
Now, with the scientific side, there are two types of déjà vu that are recognized throughout the science community. The first, being pathological déjà vu, like with epilepsy. It is also the one that can sometimes last for a longer duration or with more frequency. Pathological Deja Vu, hallucinations and symptoms that could indicate a potential underlying neurological or psychiatric illness.
The second type of Deja Vu out there, is the non-pathological type. More common with healthier people, and accounts for around two-thirds of those who experience déjà vu. Those with increased experience stimulation such as traveling or watching movies, are also more likely to have experiences than those who don’t. More so, being in a compromising moment in life or being under a lot of stress, is known with people who experience déjà vu; and with some research its been determined that déjà vu also decreases along with age.
Let us talk about some of the explanations that are associated with Déjà vu, more or less the common ones. The first being temporal lobe epilepsy. This is due to epileptic electrical discharge that occurs within the brain; creating the sensation that an event or experience currently happening has already happened in the past. This phenomenon was also tested against other known mental disorders, like anxiety, DID or schizophrenia.
Certain drugs can also increase the chances of déjà vu occurring, sparking that sensation that an event occured before. Although this should be prefaced by saying that this is extremely situational. Sometimes it even had to be a combination of drugs in order to make these experiences happen; but there is no steady reports of this happening on a wide scale.
Déjà vu may happen if a person experienced the current sensation twice in a row. This happens however when the first experience is minimal, short or not all too significant. Immediately after this first experience, the second one happens, familiar sensations our brains then connect to the first sensation. So imagine making dinner, and the smell of garlic momentarily comes to your mind. Then a week later, the smell of garlic while cooking sparks that thought pattern once again. Mixed with the similar setting and action, you get this possible explanation.
Research has set experiences to good memory functions in our brains. Recognition memory is an aspect of our minds that enables people to realize the event or activity, happened prior. Basically, this explanation for déjà vu, is that someone has their recognition memory triggered by the certain situation that they find themselves in, regardless of whether or not they have actually ever done so before, and linking it to an actual event that created this core memory. Very similar to the last explanation that we discussed.
Another possible explanation for the phenomenon is the occurrence of “cryptomnesia”; which is where information is forgotten but nevertheless stored in the brain. Then, a similar event occurs that then sparks this locked away information. This all causes that sensation of familiarity because the event or experience has, in fact, happened before.
Dreams are also in the mix as a sort of explanation for déjà vu. People having experiences that occurred, in some form, within dreams instead of occurring while awake. In fact, according to a survey done by Brown back in 2004; 20% of the respondents to the survey, did report that their experiences were from dreams. While 40% of the respondents reported that their own experiences came from both reality and dreams.
Additionally, people may have experiences because some elements in their dreams, occur in reality. Which to be honest, is likely the best explanation for whenever I personally have experienced Deja Vu; looking back it seems to fit the best. Finally, with the dream explanation, people may possibly have experiences while within a dream or dreamlike state. Which seems like its own deviation, but links to the idea that dreams are the cause of the phenomena.
Episode 32 – Déjà Vu | Bonus Episode. Produced by Shane Cummings; Audio Editing & Research by Shane Cummings.
Intro & Outro music “Creepy Regrets” by AnMo.