Where Do Déjà Vu and Feelings of Prediction Come From?

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On a cold rainy day, I saw a girl in a white skirt with a red umbrella walking toward me. I was almost certain that she was going to stare me in the face and brush against me. And she really did. I screamed in silence and quickly checked calendar if that day is Friday the 13th.



It’s not. Lucky me. I told this story to people around me, to my surprise, many said they had experienced similar déjà vu and feelings of prediction before. If it is not supernatural, where do these feelings come from? Memory researcher Anne Cleary now has a theory to explain.



Déjà vu is a memory phenomenon


“Déjà vu” is a French term and literally means "already seen." It refers to the feeling that you have experienced a situation before even though you know you haven't.



You have this feeling because the thing at this moment reminds you of something similar happened before, but you can’t remember it very clearly. Déjà vu is not about supernatural, but about your memory.


In order to verify this theory, Cleary conducted a series of experiments.


How the study went



The research team created the participants a virtual world, which contains scenes like the video game The Sims.


First, the team asked if they were experiencing déjà vu. Then, they changed the scene and asked the participants if the scene changed in the way they expected. It turns out that the participants who were having déjà vu were not able to predict what was going to happen next.


When the participants saw something familiar and déjà vu occurred, they knew what particular thing was going to happen based on their memory. But the experiment didn’t follow the routine in the game. The changes were totally random. Surely people didn’t have the ability to predict random things.



So, the prediction due to déjà vu is not based on facts. Instead, it is based on memory and feeling. In other words, when I saw that girl in the white skirt, the reason why I successfully predicted her next move is because I remembered I saw a similar girl who did similar thing before. I didn’t predict depending on analysis or causality.


Cleary is now planning to further her study with neuroscientists, as déjà vu is a typical symptom of a type of seizure. Maybe in the future, the research on déjà vu can shed some light on medicine and human health.

6 Answers

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No this is real Deja vu. I had a dream that I was on a beach in a motel with several people including my dad, like a vacation. And about a year later my parents divorced and there weren’t any signs that they were ever divorcing. I ended up in Gulfport Mississippi with my dad and his new girlfriend and her parents and the lady’s daughter. We all went there together to a casino. And during that night it hit me!! Omg seriously I remember having a dream being here with these strange people and my dad!!! I didn’t say anything. But that is True Deja Vu!! Not bumping into someone walking by. That’s an accident, coincidence. Nothing Special. That’s like omg I bet this show will go to a commercial soon haha. I pictured meeting strangers with me and my dad  at a beach and it happened a year later!!
Its a feeling  not an actual dream coming true lol.
I know what you mean and I experience constantly similar things as you do. Just very small things, like I read something from a book then somebody called my name, have fun with someone I had never thought of being in a good relationship with. Then they ALL CAME TRUE. You know what I call this research? I call it the imagination of those scientist who don't really understand supernatural power and want to explain them with those little things they think they know. Or at least I don't accept this explanation of there is no Deja Vu. I believe in it and I sometimes think I can be a witch or something if my ability can be under my control.
i always think im a gryffindor. how about you?
Me too!!!!
I think I can predict but not control. I don know. In fact Im fun of Sherlock Holmes XD
i always think im a gryffindor and turns out im a slytherin lol
I mean we all can predict things to a certain extent. Like if you see someone doing something absolutely stupid and dangerous and you predict they get hurt that’s not really anything special.Or even having conversation with certain people, you can basically say in your mind what they’re saying before they actually finish what they’re saying!!
Yes indeed, but what WE are talking about is exactly those thing you can never predict by logic. What you are saying are basically reasoning instead of prediction.
I get this chest pain and I know something is wrong and sometimes I feel who it is and sometimes not knowing who. If I know I go to see that person to check on them and usually something has happened. Other times when I don’t know I get a phone call about it
Whats that a gryffinder?
Students in the book Harry Potter by J K Rowling

The longest time I ever experienced being in a "déjà vu" episode was about 5 minutes. It happened when I was about 9-11 years old. I've forgotten the year, obviously.

In a normal state, I walked to a small neighborhood store, a little over 1 1/2 blocks from my home that was very small, like a large extra room on the front of a house. It was a hot summer day, late morning as I recall. As soon as I touched the handle on the screendoor to enter, I disconnected and felt like I was there in body, but mentally I was separated from everything that was happening, as you would be in a dream. I walked to the magazine racks and looked at a comic book. Think I put it back, then walked over to the counter and spoke with the storekeeper, a man. Don't recall the words, but seem to recall I spoke to him, he replied, and we exchanged conversation again. I turned and walked out of the store, and as I heard the screen door spring make its noise closing the door, the sound of the door bouncing once off the door jam as I made about 3 steps from it, suddenly reconnected my body and mind and I was back to normal. All the seconds I was in the store, every motion, every word that was said, I already had said and done all of that before. It was slightly difficult speaking to the storekeeper, as all our words where in my mind being played just a mili-second before we actually said them, so was like an echo chamber effect.  Outside I tried to understand what had happened, but had not the thinking level to even begin to know, and never did anything to verify the event. Later in my years, I realized my conversation with the storekeeper was on a level I wouldn't reach until I was a few years older. I was confident and composed, something I reached many years later. I don't ever recall seeing the man in the store again in the 10 or so years before it was closed.

I'll do another post this week, about other episodes. 

THIS is prediction. I hope Tim can see this.
Yeah. I had a actual dream come true. Not exactly Deja vu. But it seems to me it’s the same thing. You end up being in a situation and all of sudden you feel like you were there before but know you really haven’t.
Another episode I had was only about 2-3 minutes. I was going North on a major interstate that I had traveled on many, many times before, as it was a major pathway North and West or East from where I lived. I was taking a friends wife and children to meet him with at location in the far North of my state. 1/2 way on my normal travel on the route was a secondary road I needed to take, so exited. Stopped breifly at a gas station there, then proceded NE on that road. I am 110% sure I never had been on the road past the gas station, about 2 miles later had that sudden flash of brain info that told me clearly, I had been on that road with his family, in that same car BEFORE. No clue when only that I felt it was in the past and not a recent event. The feeling was so strong, I was breathing slightly heavy and stunned. Suddenly I was in my proper time zone, and nothing unusual about where I was, our having the man's family in my car.
This is not the answer to my experiences of deja vu. Impossible to have a memory of something that has not happened yet. It is not a "similar" experience, it is somehow an actual exact experience. When you feel this has happened before, and can say a child will run through that door and you know exactly what the child will say followed by exactly what happens next, when you are in a place, you have never been, and no children are around at the time this experience begins. yet you describe in detail what happens and quote two people, and then what happens after that all exactly in a matter of a minute or two, this is not memory, but maybe a 4th dimension out of phase with the place you are at that time. There have been many documentaries that show spots on the earth have time/space fluctuations...which may happen to occur randomly anywhere.
Yeah like I knew I read about something that I couldn't have read about, and several months or years later I actually read about it. I even remember some of its contents. This cannot be explained by any science I think. I think it's like a timey wimey thing like I suddenly experience my future at some point of my life. If you've seen a movie, which I forget the name but there are aliens landing on earth, teaching humans how to control time like the aliens have the ability so that they can write a sentence from the beginning and the end simultaneously to form a circle, then that's it.
Ive read that each person has the same information as all our ancestors in our memory somewhere. So an occurrence from a mother grandmother esp. Because while we were in the womb we could have heard or sensed some experience as our mom , can be in our memory.
can this also explain some people look exactly the same as his or her ancestor?
Maybe, this is genetic mapping?
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