The Déjà Experience - Part 1

Through many different research studies, it was found that Déjà experiences are very common. The term déjà vu is French and means, literally, 'already seen', This phenomena is where the individual experiences a familiarity of recollection that they should not be experiencing. Often, these impressions are bewildering and perplexing to the person. There are many forms of déjà experience, although they are often collected under the same umbrella-term and are called "déjà vu".

In ‘The Psychology of Déjà Vu’ by Dr. Vernon Neppe, Dr. Neppe provides one of the most detailed scientific analysis of déjà vu that exists and demonstrates that there are qualitative differences in the déjà vu experiences that occur in Normal subjects, Subjective Paranormal Experiments, Temporal Lobe Epileptics and Schizophrenics. He also listed 20 different types of ways in which déjà experience may manifest. Some of these have specific names and others had not yet been categorized, but Dr. Neppe included his suggestions:

  • déjà vu - already seen

  • déjà entendu - already heard

  • déjà éprouvé - already tried or attempted

  • déjà fait - already done or accomplished

  • déjà pensé - already thought or pondered

  • déjà raconté - already recounted or told

  • déjà senti - already felt (as in I have felt this way)

  • déjà su- already known (intellectually)

  • déjà trouvé - already met

  • déjà vécu - already lived through or experienced

  • déjà voulu - already wanted

  • déjà arrive - already happened

  • déjà connu - already known (personal knowing)

  • déjà dit - already said/ spoken (content of speech)

  • déjà gôuté - already tasted

  • déjà lu - already read

  • déjà parlé - already spoken (act of speech)

  • déjà presenti - already "sensed" (or had a presentiment)

  • déjà rencontré - already met

  • déjà rêvé - already dreamt

  • déjà visité - already visited

Related to Déjà vu, there exist negative or reversed forms in which the person denies recognizing what must be familiar or are unable to relate or connect memories in proper sequence. In some instances, these involve the identities of the people around them, or the validity of the world around them.

Jamais vu - Never seen, the sudden feeling that what should be familiar isn't. Often described as the opposite of déjà vu, jamais vu involves a sense of eeriness and the observer's impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before.

Jamais raconté - Never seen or told. This often presents as a person or patient saying, “There is something I’ve never told you before…” when in fact the particular information had already been reported.

Presque vu - Almost seen. The feeling that you can almost remember something, but it just won't come to mind. It is related to the so-called “tip of the tongue” phenomena.

Capgras Syndrome - The afflicted person is convinced that those he or she is familiar with have been replaced by impostors. They may, for example, accuse a spouse of being an imposter of their actual spouse. This can be upsetting for both the person experiencing the delusion and the person who is accused of being an imposter.

Fregoli delusion - A rare disorder in which the afflicted person is convinced that many or all of the people he or she meets are really one person in many disguises. Like Capgras delusion, psychiatrists believe it is related to a breakdown in normal face perception.

Paramnesia - A disorder of memory in which dreams or fantasies are confused with reality. In some cases, paramnesia may represent spatial or temporal distortions of real events or may be a brief and spontaneous confabulation that does not bear any relationship to real or even plausible events.

Reduplicative paramnesia - The person is convinced that everything is being repeated; everything is familiar. The subjective belief that a place has been duplicated, existing in at least two locations simultaneously, and unlike other duplicative syndromes, is thought to be mainly due to a neurologic cause.

Restricted paramnesia - A feeling of familiarity in which one is unable to come up with the source. One has the feeling that one should recognize or know the place, object or person but is unable to tie them to a specific incident or location from the past.

Redintegration - Seeing (hearing, tasting, touching, smelling) a person, object or place can evoke an entire memory sequence. The process of recovering or recollecting memories often comes from from partial cues or reminders, as in recalling an entire song when a few notes are played.