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Jamais Vu: The opposite of Deja Vu!

by Adarsh Modi

Jamais Vu: The opposite of Deja Vu!

June 22, 2021

Say the word “word” 30 times; no, you won’t look crazy. Yes, go on, do it. Did you do it? I assumed you did. It seems weird to you now, doesn’t it? It feels like the word “word” isn’t even a real word, even though you know that it is!

That is what Chris Moulin of Leeds University did in his study of the phenomenon when he asked approximately 100 volunteers to write down the word “door” thirty times in a minute.  In the month of July 2006, in the 4th International Conference on memory in Sydney, he revealed that 68% of the volunteers showed signs of Jamais vu viz. they started to doubt whether the word “door” was real or not. 

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Jamais vu is the misalignment where a known entity, person, situation, or experience feels strange and new while objectively realizing the familiarity of the situation.

What is Jamais Vu?

Have you ever had the feeling that something has happened before, even though you might be experiencing it for the very first time? That is called a deja vu- the misalignment of the objective and subjective recognition, with affirmative subjective recognition and the absence of objective recognition. Deja vu is fairly common. What then is Jamais Vu? It is the conceptual opposite of deja vu. 

Jamais vu is the misalignment where a known entity, person, situation, or experience feels strange and new while objectively realizing the familiarity of the situation. It is sometimes associated with epilepsy,  aphasia, and amnesia.

Ongoing Studies

Both deja vu and jamais vu are experienced by two-thirds of the population on a normal basis. However, while deja vu is more common, jamais vu is more prevalent in people that experience deja vu frequently. Deja vu is typically considered to be a momentary illusion of a person’s memory caused by abnormal activity in the memory structures of the medial temporal lobe. Jamais vu, while occurring commonly, is prevalent in people suffering from neuropsychiatric conditions like temporal epilepsy. 

While there is not much known about jamais vu, a number of studies are ongoing to find out the causation and the differences between deja vu and jamais vu and their impacts on several neuropsychiatric disorders. The human brain is the most complex machine ever made, so when it goes haywire, it is that much difficult to find the exact problem and solve it. If you too, feel there is something weird with your brain, comment below. 

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