JUN 03, 2017 9:29 AM PDT

The Neuroscience of Deja Vu

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Have you ever been chatting with a friend or walking down a road, only to be stopped mid-track due to an overwhelming sensation that you've already had the conversation or walked down the road before? Your brain goes into overdrive to pinpoint exactly when you had the previous experience, but it comes up short because you know this is the first time you've met the person, or traveled to this place.

This eerie phenomenon is known as "deja vu," and it's French for "already seen." And it happens to many people - about 60 to 70 percent of the population will have this feeling at least once in their lives. Furthermore, the feeling can be triggered by sights, sounds, tastes, and even smells.

Parapsychologists attribute deja vu to past-life reincarnations. But how do neuroscientists explain this brain peculiarity? Watch the video to find out how these glitches are brain's attempts to form a complete picture of our world.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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