Did you think that “déjà vu” was the strangest phenomenon our brain could produce? Discover the “deja-vu”, an even more captivating mystery that science is trying to uncover.
The birth of the concept of “déjà vu
When we talk about intriguing neurological phenomena, “déjà vu” often comes to mind. Yet there is another, even more mysterious concept: the “déjà-dream”. In 2018, neuroscience researchers began studying this unexplained phenomenon, which they dubbed “déjà vu.” If “déjà-vu” refers to the sensation of reliving an event that has already been experienced, “déjà-dream” is more about the impression of reliving a dream during our waking state.
New perspectives to understand the brain
Although rare, the experience of “déjà-dreaming” is more frequent in people with epilepsy. This phenomenon, although related to “déjà-vu”, has multiple nuances that deserve to be explored. Indeed, the study of déjà vu could open new perspectives to better understand the functioning of the human brain.
A pioneering study of the “already-dreamed”
In research published in the journal Brain Stimulation, scientists from the University Hospital of Toulouse, the Centre de Recherche du Cerveau et de la Cognition (CNRS) and the University of Nancy have worked together to establish a classification of the different types of “déjà vu”. This step is crucial to better analyze and understand this fascinating phenomenon.
Already dreamed” and epilepsy
Researchers studied 42 participants suffering from epilepsy, in whom seizures triggered sensations of “already dreamed”. These patients were subjected to electrical brain stimulation in different areas of the medial temporal region of the brain. The data collected in this study allowed a link to be established between the “déjà vu” and the neurology of the people concerned.
According to the researchers, patients were generally able to identify that the images that came to mind during these episodes were from dreams experienced two or three days earlier. In addition, many could describe specific narrative elements of their dreams. The scientists point out that dreams are a sensory-motor hallucination experience composed of a narrative structure. Thus, patients could relive parts of these dreams while awake.
Distinguishing “déjà-dream” and “déjà-vu”
Other patients fall more into the category of “reminiscence”, whose dream memories contain few details, or even a “dream state” close to “déjà vu”. These people find themselves in a dream state with undefined mental content. For the time being, researchers believe that “déjà-dream” has long been confused with “déjà-vu”. However, the latter is “devoid of mental content” and is rather considered as a feeling of familiarity that does not translate into images in the head.
In summary, “déjà vu” is an intriguing neurological phenomenon that, although related to “déjà vu”, is distinguished by its own characteristics. Ongoing research into this scientific mystery may lead to a better understanding of how the human brain works and to new ways of helping people with epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
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