Do you think you have read this blog post before?
Déjà vu is a freaky experience. Déjà vu describes the experience of feeling that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously. Is it just your mind playing tricks on you? Is it a blip in the matrix? Approximately two-thirds of individuals have experienced at least one episode of déjà vu in their life. As for what causes déjà vu, there are more than 40 theories as to what déjà vu is and what causes it, and they range from reincarnation to glitches in our memory processes.
New research is closing in on what causes déjà vu but there is no definitive explanation yet. One leading theory is that the déjà vu experience is likely an error in your so-called episodic memory in which similarities between new and familiar experiences are confused by your brain’s hippocampus. The hippocampus is where your brain has its episodic memory that records times, places and events. The hippocampus can distinguish between similar but different places or experiences. This research suggests that déjà vu results from encountering a similar experience to one previously, but due to a malfunction in your episodic memory your brain has trouble distinguishing the differences between the old, similar, but not identical experience, and the new experience you are currently experiencing. Thus, encountering something which evokes associations of an experience or sensation that cannot be accurately remembered may lead to déjà vu.
Another theory is that déjà vu is similar to temporal lobe epilepsy. In a recent study researchers at Texas A&M noted that epileptics often have a moment of déjà vu right before a seizure hits, similar to an early warning system. Brain scans suggested that déjà vu and seizures both appear to be caused by the same neurological hiccup in our brains. Our brains are constantly trying to create a whole picture of the world based on our limited sensory input. The brain creates the whole picture by filling in the gaps with what we know from past experience . Most of the time this works seamlessly, but every once in awhile our brains fill in the blank with the wrong piece of information, leading to a strange “memory” happening in the present moment.
Others claim that déjà vu is related to past-life experiences. There is no scientific evidence of this.
Another potential explanation involves a glitch in the precisely timed processes of perception and cognition. This theory proposes that sensory impressions of a current experience get detoured in the brain and are not immediately perceived. The information is, however, stored as a memory. This split-second delay in cognition creates the unsettling impression that the event is being experienced and recalled simultaneously.
As mentioned above, despite some promising theories, scientists don’t really know yet what causes déjà vu. It could be a blip in the matrix. IFOD on whether we are living in a simulation: http://www.theifod.com/the-singularity-are-we-living-in-a-simulation/
Great clip from “The Matrix”: