Déjà vu, when literally translated from French, means already seen. Chances are, most people have experienced this phenomenon at least once in their lifetime, and it occurs when we feel like a person, place, thing, or even series of moments has happened before, exactly the way it’s happening in the present. Usually we just shrug déjà vu experiences off as no big deal, because they aren’t, but have you ever wondered what these moments mean or why they happen at all?
Thanks to the hit movie, The Matrix, déjà vu moments come with a little bit more anxiety than they used to, but I’m willing to bet they don’t actually signal a glitch in the computerized world constructed by robot spiders.
In fact, the strange phenomenon happens to as much as 70 percent of the population, but oddly enough, 15 to 25 year olds experience it the most.
People experience déjà vu in a variety of ways. It can happen while your driving, when you’re talking to a friend, or even when you’re watching a movie. No matter how you experience it, the meaning behind the varied experiences stays the same.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom found that déjà vu occurs so that we can check our memory perception. The team found a way to trigger false memories by offering participants a list of related words. However, the one word that would be missing is the word that links all the others in the list together. During the study, many participants actually believed they heard the linking word, which results in a false memory.
For example, if the list consisted of words like pillow, night, or dream, the linking word would be sleep, but it would be purposefully left off the list.
Later, participants were asked if they heard the linking word. For the sake of example, researchers would ask if participants had heard any words starting with the letter s. They would respond that they hadn’t. Then they would be asked if they heard the word sleep. Although participants would admit that they hadn’t heard it, they said it sounded familiar. In essence, déjà vu had been created.
While participants experienced moments of déjà vu, their brains were watched using an fMRI. What’s interesting is that the part of the brain that showed the most activity wasn’t the hippocampus, which is associated with memory, but the frontal areas associated with decision making. This suggests that the brain is actually conducting some conflict resolution between real and false memories.
When you experience déjà vu, it means your brain is healthy. It’s checking to ensure that it doesn’t mix up false memories with real memories, which will result in a more reliable account of events, dates, and other details associated with an experience. This also explains why more young people experience déjà vu, because their brains are more active and healthy.
So if you experience déjà vu, don’t fret, your brain’s just making sure things are working properly.
source and courtesy: Daily Vibes