‘Déjà Vu’ in reverse: understand ‘jamais vu’, a phenomenon that makes you feel strange in familiar situations

When we talk about that feeling of having already lived through a moment, even if it’s happening for the first time, most of us refer to it as “déjà vu“. However, psychology has turned its attention to a less discussed but equally intriguing phenomenon: the “never see you“.

What does science say about this phenomenon?

Image: Quang Vu/Getty Images/Canva Pro

In an attempt to explore the depths of this mysteryresearchers have conducted a series of experiments to understand what triggers this sudden feeling of strangeness in the face of what should be familiar.

One study that caught our attention, in particular, focused on the relationship between repetition and ignorance. When asking students to write a word continuously, a large portion of participants (approximately 70% of them) reported feeling out of place with the word after recording it around 33 times.

In a parallel experiment, the word “the”, so common in the English vocabulary, triggered a similar feeling in 55% of those involved, after being repeated 27 times.

These studies suggest that our brain has a safety mechanism against monotony and repetition. When something becomes excessively automatic, “jamais vu” seems to act as a warning sign, forcing our system to rethink what is in front of us.

In addition to these experiments, research indicates that constantly repeating a word can activate other similar words in our minds. For example, if we continually repeat “tress,” words like “dress” or “stress” may start to pop up in our thoughts.

Interestingly, there are connections between “jamais vu” and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Repetitive behaviors, such as checking repeatedly to see if a door is locked, can trigger this feeling of strangeness.

“Jamais vu” is a testament to the complexity of our brains and how they work to ensure we remain aware and adaptable. While the phenomenon is still the subject of investigation, one thing is clear: it serves as a fascinating reminder that even what is familiar can suddenly become unexplored territory for us.

In relation :  More problems on the iPhone 15? Everything you need to know about the new complaints