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Déjà vu

Have you ever seen something you had never seen before but felt you have seen it? Maybe you have the feeling that you know something about it but cannot explain the feeling? Then, it could be “Déjà vu”!

The word déjà vu comes from the French language which means “already seen”. It is pronounced dehjah-vu. Those who have experienced the feeling say it as an overpowering sense of familiarity with something that they know they are not familiar with at all. For example, you are in the Philippines for the first time. You are touring and you are in front of Mayon Volcano. Suddenly, it seems as if you have been at that very spot before. But you have never been to the Philippines. How strange!

Déjà vu is the feeling of having experienced something in the past in spite of the experience being a new one. The feeling is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity and a sense of eeriness. Emile Broaic, a French researcher in psychology, coined the term ‘Déjà vu’ in his essay about this interesting phenomenon.

A study done in 2009 by some researchers suggests why we have this feeling of having done or seen something when actually it is not true. They asked people to study a number of pictures.

Later, they were shown a number of new scenes and were asked whether they had seen them before. Some new scenes had a similar pattern but the things inside were very different e.g. they were shown a picture of a small road between a fence and a building. Later, they were shown a completely new picture of a small passage between a train and the train station. They felt that they had seen this train picture before. This is not true.

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compelling – a powerful and irresistible effect
phenomenon – happening, event
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