Jamais Vu Is The Opposite of Deja Vu

Jamais vu, the oppostite of "deja vu," means "never seen" in French. It refers to the feeling that one has never seen before something that should be very familiar, like when you look at a common word for so long that it suddenly seems meaningless or strange. Dr. Chris Moulin, a researcher from the UK, estimated that 60% of people have experienced the sensation in their lifetimes. He was able to induce the feeling in a study by having subjects write simple words over and over. Learn more about jamais vu—and its sibling, deja vu—in the videos below.

What's Going On In The Brain With Jamais Vu and Deja Vu?

A breakdown of what happens during these strange brain phenomena.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Why things we've never seen or experienced sometimes seem eerily familiar.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. About two-thirds of the population have experienced déjà vu at least once. 00:25

  2. Déjà vu might be caused by a neuron spontaneously firing or a delay in a neuron's transmission. 01:11

  3. Some theorists hypothesize that déjà vu arises when the brain recognizes a few familiar elements in a new setting. 01:51

Presque Vu: When Words Get Stuck On The Tip Of Your Tongue

It's that moment when you say "the exact word is suddenly escaping me...."

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Presque vu, which means "almost seen", describes the instance in which you almost know a word but can't remember it completely. 00:25

  2. A tip-of-the-tongue state is when the meaning clusters light up, but the sound clusters don't activate completely. 02:29

  3. Having someone tell you the word you're struggling with does more harm than good. 02:57

Written by Curiosity Staff June 9, 2015

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