Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Déja Vu?

  1. Jul 14, 2003 #1
    I really don't know what category this fall under, but I'll still post it here anyway. This is a weird thing I have, a déja vu. What would happen is that when ever something happens, nothing important (just daily matters) I would suddenly feel that the event has already occurred somewhere and sometime before. However, I cannot recall it. I cannot foretell the future since I only get that feeling once the event has passed.
    Recently, I found out that the events of the déja vu never occurred before. It actually occurred from dream I had before. The only reason why I don’t get the feeling is because I realized that most dreams are usually difficult to remember. They are very vague often. I realized that it was from dreams because what happened during the vacation. I took a trip out of country for a vacation. One time, when I was doing a furniture fix up, I looked up (with the exact lighting and people) I feel the déja vu. Then I look down (I was working on a chair) I get another déja vu feeling by looking at the chair. Then I get another déja vu feeling when the door tried to tighting a bolt. At this time, I realized that the first occurrence was not real, it was from a dream. During the vacation, I was in a new house that I’ve never seen before. But how could it be a déja vu if the setting of the view I had never existed in my head. One thing for sure is that I didn’t have this dream on the vacation because of the heat, I barely slept for days before the déja vu.
    Does this ring a bell? Like “Minority Report” and “Final Destination”(movies)? It’s freaking me out a little. But the problem is that I can’t capture the dream I had before. Plus, the only reason I would forget the dream is because my mind would think that the dream is yet another boring dream and would tend to forget it easily.
    Anybody also have this kind of feeling? I hope I am not alone here. Actually I know I am not alone because my twin brother and my father also have this experience. Could this be a genetic thing? Or is it just a coincidence?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2003 #2
    Well, I've asked myself the same thing before, since I have also had bouts of serious deja vu.

    However, according to Daniel Dennett, that which you are conscious of is just a combination of the different workings of different parts of your brain. This means that your deja vu can be the simple result of similar workings of the different parts of your brain, which then insight a concious experience, that has been engrained in your memory (possibly from a dream, as you mentioned, or possibly from a collection of things you have done throughout your life-time that are massed together in your memory - ready to be incited).
  4. Jul 14, 2003 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    i experience deja vu frequently...i think mentat is right about it being a conscious experience...
  5. Jul 15, 2003 #4

    But if it's from a dream...how could you call it a "conscious" experience. The definition of conscious suggests that one is awake and aware during that state. You are capable of having thoughts, in a dream, you don't have that ability. Dreams just go on like a play.
  6. Jul 15, 2003 #5
    When we face something we don't understand, its in human nature to blame something for that. Dreams are always available :wink:.

    I bet that if you try hard enough, you'd find that many (or most?) of your experiences hadn't occured in your dreams either (my experience). It may aswell be just that, feeling. Like when you face new situation, you may feel comfort, awe, joy, warmth, tired, etc. At some situations you just feel Déja Vu. It may also have inertia, like laughter, once started, many things seem funny. Maybe it isn't even related to conciousness, but is more like chemical in nature, but I don't know.
    Given that almost everybody has had dejavu, I think it has received some attention from researchers.
  7. Jul 15, 2003 #6
    Perhaps the information that enters into the brain that is considered the now experience - also on a few occasions gets sent to the area of the brain that is reserved for the past experiences. You get a double dose of the experience at the same time or at least close to it. Sort of a routing error in the brain. Instead of following the proper channels - The signal gets split or doubled. One signal follows proper channels and the other gets sent directly to the area of the brain that stores a past experience. Another area of the brain see's both experiences as the same as opposed to one experience being crisp, and one being a bit foggy. Your memory doesn't store everything you experience, but in this case it does. Since both experiences seem so similar - One might think this has happened before.

    Thats my shot in the dark.
  8. Jul 15, 2003 #7
    Re: but...

    It is still a conscious experience, if it happens in a dream. You see, being conscious doesn't mean being "awake", it means being "aware".
  9. Jul 15, 2003 #8
    Re: but...

    Interesting that so many people credit dreams with deja-vu experiences. I heard somewhere that most experiences are triggered by smell, just a lil thought to throw out.

    Anyways, dreams could be called a collection of random thoughts running through your mind, this is mind, you could easily see that there is no 'firm material substance' in dreams, it is kind of like a silhouette of a scene (or shadows), they can easily transform into anything. Something in the waking scene triggered a thought that ran through your head during a dream a few nights back and bam!, you have a deja-vu experience of the entire waking scene, morphed from the shadowy dream scene.
  10. Jul 18, 2003 #9
    It has merit, but it falls into the Cartesian trap - assuming that consciousness takes place at one place in the brain, which has been proven (to far too great a degree of accuracy to be ignored) to be falacious.
  11. Jul 18, 2003 #10
    I agree that consciousness takes place at one place in the brain. I've had a few of these experience myself as probably everyone else. My recollection of the experience was that my memory of the event happening before was extremely close to the present event. So close as to not be from what I consider my standard memory. When you remember events since past - They become rather foggy over the passage of time. In a deja vu experience there is this comparison of events that seem to be the same. First the event takes place - This experienced event is sent to the area of the brain to be held in memory. Only this event is already there in memory and very fresh. A signal is sent back that this event has happened before the event being sent in. If somehow an event gets duplicated where one signal gets sent through your consciousness, and the other signal (the same one) somehow bypasses your consciousness and makes a beeline for memory. You can expect deja vu in short order.
  12. Jul 19, 2003 #11
    Erm...I think you misunderstood. I said it has been proven false, that there is one part of the brain for "consciousness".

    I direct you to Consciousness Explained, by Daniel Dennett. Whenever you get a chance, you should read it - it's very well written, even if you don't happen to agree with him.
  13. Jul 19, 2003 #12
    This is weird.

    I would almost for certain claim that I have read and discussed this thread before....
  14. Jul 19, 2003 #13
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook