Have you ever had that unexplained experience of seeing familiar places, meeting similar faces or doing the same actions all over again? The intense eerie feeling, where most of us experience it at least once in our lifetime and yet remains mysterious is what we call “Déjà Vu.”
Déjà vu is a French word that means, “Already Seen.” For many years now, many people have claimed to experience Déjà vu from different parts of the world. However, experts can’t still find an explanation on how this phenomenon works.
A statistical analysis in 2004 stated that two-thirds of the world’s population have experienced déjà vu. As time goes by, more studies confirmed this analysis and according to recent studies, Déjà vu is common to healthy people from 15-25 years of age.
Researchers attributed this peculiar sensation from neurological disorders or memory problems to parallel universes. These researchers described it merely as a glitch or anomaly in our brain’s memory system and they connected Déjà vu to the mysteries of the multiverse. While there are other experts, who believed that Déjà vu is a form of precognition or prophecy and some believed that it is a re-collection of the past life memories, no evidence showed that these claims were factual.
In this article, we will focus on the experiments and theories that are scientifically explained by different experts and scientists.
Possible Reasons behind Déjà vu
Neurological disorders or Memory Problems
The temporal lobe is a part of the brain, which is responsible for making and remembering memories. Some scientists believed that Déjà vu has a strong connection to Epilepsy, particularly with Temporal lobe epilepsy.
Temporal lobe epilepsy is the primary pathological association of déjà vu, which relates to improper electrical discharge that can affect all the cells in the brain. According to research, people who have this neurological disorder consistently experience Déjà vu at the onset of their seizures.
What happens during this event is that electrical discharge in the brain misfires. With this, the neural activity of the brain creates a strong eerie feeling of a current experience (termed as Déjà vu), and this present event actually happened in the past as well. This results in an inaccurate memory sensation leading to Déjà vu.
In addition, MIT neuroscientists Susumu Tonegawa explained another neurological explanation of Déjà vu. According to Tonegawa, Déjà vu is a memory differentiation problem. He explained that a small part of the brain, in the hippocampus region is responsible for “episodic memories.” This part is termed as dentate gyrus. It specifically separates information about similar places and situations.
Moreover, the dentate gyrus stores patterned experiences related to visual, audio, touch and other body senses including time. When this information mixes up, the brain prevents to differentiate two similar situations causing the phenomenon, Déjà vu.
On the contrary, research by Akira O’Connor at the University of St. Andrews, UK, claimed that Deja Vu experiences result from having a good memory. According to his experiment, our brain has a fact-checking mechanism to maintain good memory recall.
Using a standard method to trigger false memories to experience Deja Vu, his experiment showed that the frontal brain region, which involves decision-making were active, rather than the hippocampus which involves memories.
The experiment evaluated MRI scans of 21 volunteers during a generated Déjà vu experience. O’Connor claimed that Deja Vu is not a memory problem and likewise, the front area of the brain is possibly checking our memories for error to decide if it recalls a familiar situation correctly.
The Parallel Universe
Another intriguing possibility is a concealed connection between déjà vu and the existence of the parallel universe, a theory that our universe is not alone, but tells that many universes exist parallel to each other.
Many scientists and multiverse researchers support the existence of the parallel universe theory. In my article about Multiverse, you can learn the first and the latest evidence that can support the concept of the multiple universes. This can give you an idea how multiverse works.
In the case of Déjà vu, Theoretical Physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku stated that parallel universes could explain this phenomenon. Additionally, he stated that quantum physics provides the essential details that recommend Déjà vu might be the ability to “flip between different universes.”
Additional theory from Professor Steve Weinberg, also a Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Prize winner, claimed that a possibility of a countless number of parallel realities coexist with us and relates this theory to radio frequencies.
According to Weinberg, Parallel Universe is the same as having several different radio waves broadcasted simultaneously and each station has a different frequency. We can only tune in to one station and switch to another at a time because these frequencies are not in phase with each other. Likewise, when two universes are in harmony, it is likely that we can move back and forth between two parallel universes. With this, the Déjà vu phenomenon happens.
However, some Quantum Physicists explained that humans are consisted of atoms and no longer vibrate in unison with other universes. This means we are already separated from the other universes and we no longer interfere with each other. Therefore, Déjà vu is possibly just a memory portion stored in our brain that stimulates when we are in an environment that resembles something we experienced in the past. Moreover, if we rely on Quantum Physics, even if there is a parallel universe, it is still unclear if we can flip between different universes because we decohere from them.
From the theories and experiments above, we can’t still fully understand the reason behind the Déjà vu experience. Continuous studies from experts are still in the process to show the truth of the Déjà vu phenomenon. However, there is no assurance that we can really learn the reason behind it. Only time will tell.