What is a déjà vu?

We explain what a deja vu is, what is the meaning of this term and the types of déjà vu a person can experience.

    1. What is a déjà vu?

It is called Déjà vu (term taken from French and that means “already seen, or seen before”) to a slight disturbance of memory ( paramnesia  of recognition ) that produces the sensation that a situation has been experienced previously.

The term  Déjà vu  began to be used with this specific meaning following the studies of Émile Boirac (1851-1917), a French psychic who used it for the first time in his book  The Future of Psychic Sciences . 

Later he would be referred to by psychologists such as Edward B. Tichener, who explained it as quick impression that someone has regarding a lived situation , which is experienced before the brain can “process” the information consciously, which generates a false sensation of familiarity.

In general, the experience of  Déjà vu is usually brief and diluted after a few moments , accompanied by a feeling of strangeness or awe, and usually the “previous” experience of what is lived in a dream is attributed, which would lead to think of some kind of premonition. 

Scientific approaches, however, contradict the traditional idea that a  Déjà vu be part of a prophecy or spiritual message that suddenly becomes conscious, preferring to understand it as an anomaly in the functioning of the psychic machinery of memory .  

The experience of  Déjà vu  is tremendously common: two thirds of the world’s population say they have experienced it, according to formal studies. 

  1. Types of déjà vu

According to Arthur Funkhouser (1996), there are three types of  Déjà vu : 

  • Déjà éc u . When people talk about  Déjà vu , they usually refer to this first type, whose name translates “already lived.” It usually occurs between the ages of 15 to 25 years and is usually linked to minimal, banal events, around which a series of sensations are woven, producing the conviction that that had already been experienced before.  
  • Let me feel . It is distinguished from the first case in that it is merely sensory: its name translates “already felt”. It is produced exclusively around mental events and is of an interior, ephemeral nature, since it is not usually communicable or endures in consciousness. It is very common in epileptic patients. 
  • Déjà  v isité . Its name translates “already visited” and obviously implies a reaction to a place that is known for the first time, but you have the feeling of having been there before. Many people link it to the belief of reincarnation and previous lives, when not astral travel during sleep. The psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung describes a case of  Déjà  v isité  in his text “On synchronicity”, explaining that it can be a defensive resource of the psyche, which induces a feeling of familiarity to calm the anguish.

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