Déjà vu – we’ve all experienced it; that weird sensation when an event or experience seems so familiar that you’re sure it has previously occurred, when in fact it hasn’t. A feeling so strange, in fact, that… well, that you can only say what it is in French.

As a rule, humans don’t tend to experience the sensation until the age of 8, though it can occur beforehand. Experiences tend to become more prevalent through childhood and reach a peak in teenage years, and early “tweens” – here, it seems, rates of experiencing déjà vu decrease with a steady growth in maturity. This, obviously, puts forth the argument that déjà vu may be connected to brain development. However:

In his 1928 book A Textbook of Psychology, psychologist Edward B. Tichener suggested déjà vu occurs when we catch a momentary glimpse of a situation, or object, before our brain has fully constructed a conscious, cohesive understanding of the experience, and this “partial perception” leads to a false sense of familiarity. He argued that déjà vu is merely a “false recall” of memory, an anomaly, and not an act of prophecy or precognition, as it was once believed.

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