Jamais Vu – What Is It, And How Is It Different From Deja Vu

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Most people have experienced or even heard of Deja Vu. It is that strange feeling where the person feels a particular scenario has already been experienced as they are experiencing it in the present.

However, only a handful know there is something opposite of Deja vu: Jamais Vu, where a familiar experience feels new, like stepping into a familiar room and finding it unfamiliar or forgetting the spelling of a commonly used word. 

But why does it happen? What takes place in the brain so familiar things start feeling unfamiliar? Let’s read further and dive deep to get answers. 

Key Takeaways

It is a psychological phenomenon where unreliability with related things is felt.
Unlike Deja Vu, where you feel something has already taken place, in Jamais Vu, the feeling of familiarity fades momentarily.
Usually, people feel this disconnection due to stress, fatigue, or some neurological conditions. 

What is Jamais Vu?

Jamais Vu, French for “never seen,” the opposite of Deja Vu’s “already seen,” is a phenomenon most people have experienced but often overlook. It is like forgetting a spelling or finding a familiar place unfamiliar. This is why it is often misinterpreted as short-term memory loss. 

Have you also encountered such an incident and wondered why you failed to spell the word correctly at the moment or why things or people you know seemed unfamiliar for a while? It is because of Jamais Vu.

An experience of feeling unfamiliarity with a familiar thing, feeling unrelated to something you know is related, or feeling unreal about something you already know exists.

Usually, this is temporary; however, if this happens often and familiar things appear to be unfamiliar or it feels like some part of the crucial information is missing, it is short-term memory loss. 

What happens in the brain when you experience Jamais Vu?

The actual reason for what happens in the brain that disconnects you from familiar things is a mystery. However, certain experts from Medical News Today have shared a hypothesis that might explain what happens in the brain that causes it.

In simple terms, Jamais Vu refers to the experience of recalling a thing without recognition. It occurs when there is a disconnection between perception and memory.

In addition, Dr Sullivan, a certified neuropsychologist, says that when the brain pathways become temporarily disconnected, the difference between new and familiar things cannot be comprehended, and that is the sensation of Jamais Vu.  

In short, when there is a disconnection from the medial temporal memories, Jamais Vu occurs. It is a large part of the brain behind the ears. As it is responsible for memory retrieval and recognition, people often get confused with familiar things when there is a disconnection. 

In addition, some other doctors said that when there is a disturbance in the functioning of the temporal lobe or an imbalance in neurotransmitters like dopamine or serotonin due to fatigue, stress, or neurological condition, Jamais Vu is experienced. Some even said that when there is a disruption in the attentional mechanism when too much attention is paid to something familiar, the brain temporarily processes it as unfamiliar, making you feel the disconnect. 

Research on Jamais Vu

Moulin, a doctoral student, was the first to research Jamais Vu. Initially, he wanted to study Deja Vu, but creating it in a laboratory setting was challenging.

Hence he started working on Jamais Vu. He took inspiration from the Simpsons and, like Brat Simpson, was asked to write I will not waste chalk multiple times. He also asked the volunteers to write a familiar word several times. 

Moulin found that even when the word was familiar, and volunteers could initially write it correctly, they started to feel disconnected after writing it repeatedly. For them, the word was like something new. Later, he learned that this scenario was named the word alienation centuries ago. 

When does Jamais Vu Happen?

When a person feels anxious and stressed, and the brain tries to protect them so that the trauma can be avoided, Jamais Vu can be experienced.

This means anyone, anytime and anywhere, can experience it. For example, when you see a celebrity, you know you know them, but you cannot recall their name or tell who they are.

They seem strangers to you. Memory and perception fail to connect at this time, preventing the brain from making sense of the situation and making you feel Jamais Vu.

Is Jamais Vu same as dissociation or delusion?

As there is an absence of belief in Jamais Vu, it is often confused with dissociation or delusion, which is incorrect because the dissociation in Jamais Vu is temporary.

Also, in Jamais Vu, the belief is missing; in delusion, there is a false belief, and in dissociation, the person feels detached from the environment, people, and their body, which is not the case in Jamais Vu. 

To sum up, Jamais Vu is short-lived and can be corrected by taking a break before returning to where you were. However, since it is rare and most people don’t pay attention to it, some people confuse it with other disorders.

Therefore, it is essential to be self-aware. The more you pay attention to yourself and your actions, the more you will understand why things occur in a particular way. 

Even if a thing has similarities with other mental disorders, it doesn’t mean you are suffering from it unless diagnosed. However, if you forget things often or cannot connect with things and people, you must connect with a trained professional.

They will complete an examination and help you understand if there is a problem and what action should be taken. 

As you don’t take Deja Vu seriously unless it impacts your life, the same is true with Jamais Vu. Only when you see that it is interfering with your life, relationship, and daily activities should you take action and be concerned. 

The post Jamais Vu – What Is It, And How Is It Different From Deja Vu appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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