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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Weird Science: Haven’t I Read This Before?

    Let me tell you a little story.’ I was walking in the city one day and happened to stumble into a caf’eacute; I haven’t been in before.’ While waiting on line, I found myself staring at this woman in a pink dress sipping on her cup of coffee.’ At that moment I could have sworn that I have seen this woman before doing the exact same thing, sitting in the same stool, crossing her legs the same way, having her hair in the same messy bun, and reading the same paper.’ I thought to myself, am I destined to be here at this moment in time, maybe she is the one!’ Maybe some higher power is telling me ‘hey man, go for it!’ But I quickly shed that idea when she slapped me after I asked her to come back to my bedroom.

    There are many explanations for the phenomenon that we know of as d’eacute;j’agrave; vu, ranging from spiritual to scientific.’ The most common explanation for d’eacute;j’agrave; vu is that it stems from a previous dream in which the brain can make a connection between the subconscious and the conscious state.’ The only problem with this explanation is that we do not remember most of our dreams because they are mostly stored in our short-term memory.’ The only dreams we do remember are the ones that are out of the ordinary, and those memories usually never happen in reality.’ Besides, that would also mean we are all psychic. On a spiritual level, a common explanation for d’eacute;j’agrave; vu is that the experience is what happens when things from a previous reincarnation are repeated in the present-basically, you did it all in a past life.’ These theories are interesting, but as a pseudo scientist I like to find explanations that are more tangible.’ ‘

    According to Professor Whitaker of the Psychology Department inStonyBrookUniversity , a d’eacute;j’agrave; vu cannot be something that has been experienced before because you can’t explain what happens after the d’eacute;j’agrave; vu nor can you explain what triggered it. All memories are brought to attention due to some kind of trigger, which can be anything from a feeling, to an object that reminded you of something.

    A scientific explanation for d’eacute;j’agrave; vu has to do with memory processes in different parts of the brain.’ In general, the frontal lobes are concerned with the future, the temporal lobes are concerned with the past, and the limbic system is concerned with the present.’ Short-term memory is based mostly in the hippocampus and is only stored for approximately 45 seconds.’ The parahippocampal cortex stores long-term memory and is very closely connected with the hippocampus.’ ‘ Ordinarily, there is a seamless integration of the past, present and the future.’ Basically the way the brain normally works is that we experience something in the present, compare it to similar experiences in the past, and then decide how to respond.’ The brain is able to do this within a few seconds, but then there are times when there can be too much communication between short-term and long-term memories.’ It is during these times that the present can feel like the past, causing d’eacute;j’agrave; vu.’

    So what does all this mean? For all you Matrix fans out there, I’m sorry to say that Neo’s experience with the black cat wasn’t caused by a glitch in the Matrix. It was more like a glitch in his empty, surfer mind, dude.

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