Déjà Vu is a Classic Rock album by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young featuring such iconic songs as: Woodstock, Our House, Carry On and Teach Your Children. It’s also a weird phenomenon that has rattled most all of us.

 

Déjà vu, is French for “already seen.” It’s that dizzying, momentary flash of, “I’ve been here before” when we “know” we’ve never been there in our life. Spooky, surreal, maybe a little unsettling, déjà vu has been the topic of dozens of horror/thriller books, most conceiving a parallel world where our clones roam and only now and then accidentally dip their toes into our world. There certainly couldn’t be a scientific explanation, right?

 

Wrong.

 

A study published in 2012 led by cognitive psychologist, Anne Cleary, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, re-created déjà vu in a laboratory setting using virtual reality. (See, Scientific American article). The research found that déjà vu almost always occurs in terms of place, not person. They discovered that similarity in the spacial layout of a new scene to an old scene is ususally the trigger. For example, in the past you might’ve walk through a museum with a statue in the middle of a room and benches in various places around the room. Years later, you walk through a courtyard with a large plant in the middle where the surrounding shrubs, in relation to the central plant, mirror the spacial juxtaposition of the statue and the benches in the museum. Ta da!—for a split second you feel like you’ve been in that courtyard before.

 

What about that jarring sense accompanying déjà vu? Cleary suggests it may be due to “the contrast between the sense of newness and the simultaneous sense of oldness — something unfamiliar should not also feel familiar.”

 

There are other scientic theories as well, and one cannot completely discount the possibility there really is a parallel universe, maybe below us:

 

And I feel like I’ve been here before

Feel like I’ve been here before

And you know it makes me wonder

What’s going on under the ground, hmm

Do you know? Don’t you wonder

What’s going on down under you?

David Crosby

 

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