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Science & Technology

Is there a scientific explanation for deja vu ?

By T.K. Randall
April 1, 2020 · Comment icon 24 comments

Deja vu can be a disorienting experience. Image Credit: YouTube / Samsung Schweiz
Most of us will have experienced deja vu at some point in our lives, but what exactly causes this sensation ?
Ever walked into a room for the first time and had that uncanny feeling that you've been there before ?

Over the years there have been numerous unofficial explanations for deja vu ranging from a "glitch in the Matrix" to recalling an experience from a past life, but is there an official scientific answer ?

A number of studies have attempted to recreate deja vu on demand under laboratory conditions, including one in 2006 led by the Leeds Memory Group which used hypnosis to create simple memories which were then forgotten and then later remembered through certain triggers.
More recently, virtual reality has been used to trigger a feeling of uncertain familiarity by exposing volunteers to virtual game worlds with identical layouts but different textures and scenery.

The most common explanation of deja vu is that it is a memory phenomenon that is triggered when a person links an experience with an existing memory that is very similar but doesn't quite match.

In one study however, when Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) was used to scan the brains of 21 volunteers while they were experiencing deja vu, the findings suggested that it was the part of the brain involved in decision making rather than memory that was most active.

This could mean that what we perceive as deja vu is actually our brain trying to cope with the conflict between what we actually experienced and what we think we experienced.

Source: Scientific American | Comments (24)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
Well well I wish the scientists would have tested me. I've told my wife about places I would see 10 years in the future, I draw a lake where I will catch the biggest fishi with peculiar landscape, I dream of traveling through Africa months before my boss is telling me: we go to Africa. There is deja ch anc premonition that science cannot explain yet. They seek an explanation on our brain bug what if there is something else? What if we have a collective mind that can be triggered under certain circumstances and we see ahead visuals transmitted by other ppl what if our brains are working like te... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by patient10879 4 years ago
Over the past year, I have repeatedly experienced what I can only describe assome variation of deja vu, or perhaps an out if body experience. I believe this happens to me due to underlying health issues. I've brought these "episodes" to my doctors attention, and hebelievesthey'reseizures. I honestly don't know what causes them, or why they happen, but I justdon't feel completely satisfied by that explanation.This is the best way I can describe them...They seem to be brought on by a familiar song, or commercial, or voice in the background of my current surroundings. I feel like I'm havin... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by DieChecker 4 years ago
I had deja vu just the other day. My wife said my sisterin law was going to the store, and if I wanted anything. It came to me that I'd heard the question before, in the same location, and same positioning of people, and had said yes before. Whereas something bad happened afterward. So, after a brief pause, I said no. Disaster avoided!!
Comment icon #18 Posted by ChrLzs 4 years ago
It it just me, or are deja vu jokes of exactly the same groanworthiness as those in Christmas crackers? Coincidence? .... or is it....??!!
Comment icon #19 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 4 years ago
Have you had any Covid related future sights?
Comment icon #20 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
No but have had some about being an old man walkingin deep snow, heading into caves with other ppl. There is something about snow that settle well with me.
Comment icon #21 Posted by ChrLzs 4 years ago
You'd think that given the severity of our current global crisis.... that if there was anythingto this, like even atiny shred of truth -rather than cherry-picked and unevidenced tales always told AFTER the fact... - there would have been a huge outcry just before the pandemic appeared. But nah. We just got warnings about Planet X/Nibiru, as if we haven't heard that one for over 20 years from idiots who can't recognise lens flares... So, c.mon, soothsayers and fortune-tellers, lift your dam game.
Comment icon #22 Posted by _Only 4 years ago
Definitely feels like I've read this comment before...
Comment icon #23 Posted by _Only 4 years ago
I have also experienced something far more conscious like you, but in mine it was a dream of going to someone's house and taking a tour of it.I saw it all before (I realized when it happened later 'in real life'), but there were 3 or 4 minor yet striking differences, all else the same. First difference was in the dream, the person whose house we were visiting (the same person I would later meet in waking life) took us in his truck to go there, and the trip was about 10 minutes or so across town in California. The difference being in real life when I visited, he didn't take us, we drove there,... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by papageorge1 4 years ago
Thanks for sharing your experience. I also have thought that somewhat different types of experiences get put under that kind of catch-all phrase 'deja vu'. My and your experiences really seem to be something fairly different. As to your thoughts about 'reality', I come from the school of thought that says Consciousness/God/Brahman alone is real and this universe is thought/dream/play of God/Brahman. A spark of this One Consciousness/Source is what animates all living things including us. We are trying through love and feelings of oneness, to reconnect with the Source. This 'relative reality' i... [More]

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