Have you ever been in your car, quietly watching the trees go by and suddenly had the impression of having already seen this scene? That you have been there before? Well, if so, what is going on in your brain at that moment?
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Why do we sometimes get a sense of déjà vu?
There are several theories that explain the déjà vu phenomenon. Pythagoras thought that it had a link with a previous life, whereas Freud claimed that it was a repressed desire. However, there are other theories that are also widely taken into account.
A forgotten memory that resurfaces
When the brain sees an image, it can relate to it all the images that correspond and that come from our own memories or from memories that other people have shared with us. In fact, this is what’s known as memory failure. Indeed, these memories are forgotten, but they persist in our unconscious and this explains the reason why we can have a feeling of familiarity in certain situations.
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It’s a method of protection
The feeling of déjà vu can also be used to protect us. When we are in an uncomfortable situation, one that we find dangerous, with unfamiliar people, déjà vu can be a technique used by the brain to protect itself. It creates a familiar image to reassure us and calm us down. We can also experience this means of protection during a breakup in love for example or when we are going through the process of mourning.
The feeling of déjà vu explained by science
It’s been put down to forgotten memories, secret desires, premonitions and reminders of a previous life; but what if the impression of déjà vu was a sort of dysfunction in the brain?
When the brain gets confused
Under stress, fatigue or even when we are drunk, the brain can become confused and end up being incapable of distinguishing a new fact from a known fact. This discrepancy creates an impression of déjà vu, because our brain takes into account the present for a memory.
In conclusion, the feeling of déjà vu can therefore be put down to a simple impression, but does this mean that there is no hidden message behind it? Susan Taylor isn’t so sure and thinks our unconscious may in fact be trying to reveal deeper something to us...
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