Déjà Vu: Exploring the Psychology Behind the Phenomenon


Deja vu, the uncanny feeling of a new situation appearing eerily familiar, has long intrigued scientists and psychologists. Let’s learn more about what it is.

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a licensed clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist, sheds light on this deja vu meaning.

What Is Déjà Vu? Unraveling The Familiar Yet New Experience

Déjà vu, a French term meaning “already seen,” refers to the sensation of reliving a past experience during a new and unfamiliar situation. It’s a curious and powerful wave of familiarity in the present moment, as described by Dr. Hafeez.

The exact cause of déjà vu remains mysterious, with various theories proposed. Some experts believe it may involve delays or errors in memory retrieval, while others suggest the brain processes information through multiple pathways simultaneously.

Another theory posits that memories are stored in a complex, interconnected manner in the brain. Regardless of the mechanism, déjà vu is a common, transient experience affecting people of all ages and is not considered a pathological condition.

Approximately 60% to 70% of individuals in good health experience déjà vu at some point in their lives. This feeling can be triggered by familiar sights or sounds, making individuals feel intimately acquainted with new environments. Notably, déjà vu is more likely to occur in people aged 15 to 25, those with higher education, frequent travelers, and individuals who can recall their dreams.

Although déjà vu is a common experience, it is not typically considered a medical condition. However, certain medical conditions and neurological disorders may lead to déjà vu-like experiences, such as epilepsy, migraines, temporal lobe epilepsy, schizophrenia, and high levels of anxiety or stress.

In epilepsy, déjà vu can serve as a warning sign for an impending seizure, while some migraine sufferers may experience déjà vu as part of their aura. Temporal lobe epilepsy, a specific form of epilepsy, is associated with frequent and intense déjà vu episodes. In schizophrenia, déjà vu may occasionally be reported as a symptom among various other symptoms associated with the disorder.

Dr. Hafeez emphasizes that occasional déjà vu is not indicative of a medical condition. However, individuals who frequently experience distressing déjà vu, especially when accompanied by other unusual symptoms, should seek medical evaluation to rule out underlying medical or neurological issues.

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

New Study Reveals Link Between Depression, Anorexia, and Gut Microbiota

A recent study published in BMC Psychiatry sheds light on a potential connection between major depressive disorder (MDD), anorexia, and gut microbiota. Led by researchers at the First Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, the study suggests that individuals with both depression and anorexia exhibit distinct patterns in their gut bacteria, particularly involving the presence of a specific bacterium called Blautia.

Depression, characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in daily activities, affects millions worldwide and is often accompanied by a high risk of suicide. Anorexia, marked by reduced appetite and distorted body image, commonly co-occurs with depression, complicating treatment efforts.

Gut Bacteria’s Role in Depression and Anorexia

Up Next

Beyond Chemical Imbalances: Researchers Shed Light on Social Root Causes Of Depression

In a recent letter to the editor published in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers led by Joanna Moncrieff present a compelling argument challenging the conventional understanding of depression. They assert that rather than being solely attributed to chemical imbalances in the brain, and discuss the social root causes of depression.

According to Moncrieff et al., the evidence for brain differences in depression is lacking, while there is substantial support for the influence of social and environmental factors on mental health.

They argue that the circumstances of life, such as stress and adversity, play a more significant role in shaping depressive symptoms than neuro

Up Next

Study Reveals Presence of Microplastics in Human Brain: Concerns Rise Over Health Implications

In a groundbreaking revelation, researchers from the University of New Mexico have discovered microplastics infiltrating human brain tissue, as reported in a study published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives. The study sheds light on the pervasive presence of microplastics in various organs of the body, including the kidneys, liver, and brain.

Eliseo Castillo, an associate professor leading the research, underscores the widespread distribution of microplastics in the environment, emphasizing their presence in water sources, food items, and even the air we breathe.

Previous studies have estimated that individuals ingest approximately five grams of microplastics weekly, equivalent to the weight of a credit card.

Up Next

Study Reveals Significant Genetic Link Between Treatment-Resistant Depression and Family History

In a groundbreaking study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers have uncovered a substantial genetic link between treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and family history.

Led by Dr. Cheng-Ta Li, a professor of medicine at the National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University in Taipei, Taiwan, the study utilized extensive national health insurance data to investigate the transmission of TRD across generations and its association with other psychiatric disorders.

The findings of the study are particularly significant, as they shed light on the hereditary nature of TRD and its implications for early intervention and treatment.

Up Next

FDA Clears Prescription Digital Therapeutic for Adults with Major Depressive Disorder

The FDA has recently cleared a groundbreaking prescription digital therapeutic, known as Rejoyn, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) symptoms in adults. This innovative therapy, developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in collaboration with Click Therapeutics Inc., aims to provide adjunctive care for individuals who have been prescribed antidepressants as part of clinician-managed outpatient treatment.

Rejoyn is a 6-week treatment program designed to assist individuals aged 22 years and older in regulating their emotions through a combination of clinically validated cognitive training exercises and therapeutic lessons.

The therapy utilizes digital platforms to deliver pe

Up Next

Sweet Science: How Chocolate’s Theobromine May Aid Weight Loss and Alzheimer’s Prevention

A recent study conducted by researchers at Zhengzhou University in China suggests that indulging in chocolate could offer various health benefits, including weight loss assistance and Alzheimer’s prevention.

Published in the Journal of Functional Foods, the study highlights the potential of a chemical compound found in chocolate called theobromine to positively impact both the body and the brain.

Theobromine, present in cocoa beans, boasts anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants, making it beneficial for brain health. According to scientists, this compound can protect against Alzhei

Up Next

New Study Finds High Genetic Risk for Obesity May Require Over 14,500 Daily Steps

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open reveals a significant association between genetic risk for obesity and the amount of physical activity required to mitigate the risk.

Led by Dr. Evan Brittain, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the study analyzed data from 3,124 participants in the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program to explore the link between genetic predisposition to obesity and recommended step counts for reducing the genetic risk of developing the condition.

Findings from the study indicate that individuals with a higher genetic risk of obesity may need to undertake more physical activity