Déjà Vu

What is Déjà Vu?

Déjà vu means “already seen” and is a feeling of nostalgia that, according to various surveys, has been experienced by almost two thirds of people.

Factors affecting Déjà Vu

Age: Déjà vu is usually more common in younger ages

Gender: Déjà vu is just as common in men as it is in women

Social: Déjà vu is more common in more educated individuals

Travels: People who travel more frequently are more likely to experience déjà vu.

Stress: Some studies have shown that déjà vu is more common in tired or stressed individuals.

Drugs: There are certain drugs that, when taken, increase the possibility of experiencing déjà vu. These drugs include amantadine and phenylpropanolamine.

Where does déjà vu occur in the brain?

Déjà vu is said to be mainly involved with the temporal lobes and the entorhinal cortices (part of the temporal lobe involved with memory formation and certain brain disorders).

Causes of Déjà Vu

Déjà Vu has been been associated with four main ’causes’:

Dual Processing

  • Two cognitive processes that are usually separate, unite for a moment.
  • Like a tape recorder, we have a ‘recording’ head and a ‘playing’ head which operate separately. However, sometimes both of these heads can accidentally function together, creating a false sense of familiarity.
  • As we perceive events, memories are formed alongside. However, when we are tired, it is possible for the memory to be made at the exact same time as we perceive our surroundings so our perception sees the present moment as a memory.


  • Déjà vu can be logically described as a minor type of seizure or epilepsy, although there is no data to back this up.
  • Déjà vu is information that travels from the eye through a number of pathways. If this information from two different pathways arrives to the brain at different times, the brain could perceive the second message as old information.


  • A feeling of déjà vu can spark if someone sees something similar to something they have seen previously.
  • A feeling of déjà vu can spark by seeing something familiar in an unfamiliar location. For example, if we were to see our mailman at the front door of our house – a very familiar scene – it would not produce a sense of familiarity. However, if we were to see our mailman unexpectedly, such as if we were on holiday out of town, it would evoke a sense of familiarity.

Attentional explanations

  • Imagine someone witnesses something but doesn’t pay full attention to it. If the same scene is perceived again but this time with full perception, the second perception will match the first one will accidentally assume that the dust perception is much older than it truly is, thus triggering déjà vu.

Future research

Although many theories have already been presented on the cause for déjà vu, none of them have been proven yet and there is still scope for error among existing theories. Further research and studies will still need to be done to ensure the accurate cause (or maybe even causes) of déjà vu is discovered.

Thank you for reading this blog, if you found it interesting feel free to leave a rating and comment down below any of your own personal experiences with déjà vu!



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