James Lampinen, professor of psychology from the University of Arkansas, explains that déjà vu is a global phenomenon that makes us believe that we relive something that is actually happening for the first time. This experience can trigger confusion and anxiety and is often accompanied by a sense of removal from reality.
Sigmund Freud, the “father of psychoanalysis”, argued that déjà vu is the result of an unconscious fantasy that comes to the surface. The content of such fantasies is not perceived at the logic level, but the feeling of familiarity manages to “leak” into the conscious mind.
Recent data suggest that déjà vu may be explained by the mechanisms of information processing in the brain. Hermon Sno, a dutch expert on the subject with extensive experience in research, argues that memories are stored in the form of images. So when a scene that unfolds in the present corresponds to a fuzzy recollection, we come to believe that these two events coincide. It’s like recognizing a familiar face from a blurry photo.
Another theory suggests that déjà vu occurs when an event resembles another that we faced with in the past or many similar events in the past.
A deeper understanding of the phenomenon has concerned also neuroscientists. They believe that certain areas of the brain regulate the memories and the feeling of familiarity. When these areas work simultaneously, it results in the phenomenon of déjà vu.
Despite the extensive research on déjà vu that has taken place, the root causes of this mysterious phenomenon remain unknown.
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