The Psychology of “Déjà Vu And Jamais Vu”

The Psychology of “Déjà Vu And Jamais Vu”

Many of us are familiar with the word “DÉJÀ VU” (a French word that means “already seen”.) This is actually a sense of familiarity with unfamiliar surroundings, but here comes a new rare experience called “JAMAIS VU” (French word which means “never” seen?) which is the opposite of “DÉJÀ VU” i.e., a sense of unfamiliarity with the familiar things.

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Some psychologists believe that Deja vu is simply caused by the brain mistaking current events for events that occurred in past times. However, some spiritualists tell that the phenomenon was a symptom of recalling happenings from past lives. But some researchers argue that Déjà vu is a cognitive experience that is not related to psychological disturbances. Their theory also states that certain memories from our past surroundings sometimes “leak out” into short-term recollections, therefore tricking our brains into experiencing Dejavu.

Whereas JAMAIS VU can be caused by temporal lobe epilepsy (it is a period of symptoms due to abnormal or excessive neuronal activity in the brain). Temporal lobe epilepsy is the term used when seizures occur in the temporal lobe areas of the brain. We have two temporal lobes, one of each side of your head behind your temples (by your ears). The temporal lobe is the area of the brain that processes memories and sounds, interprets vision, produces speech, understands language, controls some unconscious responses such as hunger, thirst, fight-or-flight, and emotions.

Causes of temporal lobe epilepsy include:

  1. Nerve cell death
  2. Brain injury
  3. Brain infection
  4. Brain inflammation
  5. Genetic factors or genetic mutations.

The behavior of persons with these may include:

Sudden feelings of joy and anxiety, strange behavior like opening a mouth unconsciously, etc.


Both of these are categorized as Paramnesia, a failure to recognize a portion of memory. Most of the psychoanalysts still believe that Déjà vu is a spiritual thing occurring due to supernatural power. Researchers are still knowing the exact causes by inducing them in the research labs, but this seems impossible.

There is also a quote about déjà vu, “If you feel as you have been here before… perhaps because you have… been here… before already…!”


  1. The Journal of mind and behaviors (E-book).

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