Have You Ever Experienced Déjà Rêvé, The Strange "Cousin" Of Déjà Vu? (2024)



January 07, 2022

mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

By Sarah Regan

mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.

What is déjà rêvé?Déjà rêvé vs. déjà vu.The science behind it.3 types of déjà rêvé.How to interpret it.

What to do about it.

January 07, 2022

Have you ever been going about your day when you were suddenly struck by the somewhat strange sensation that you'd already dreamed the experience before?

Not to be confused with déjà vu, this particular phenomenon is called déjà rêvé—and it's actually not that uncommon. While the exact science behind déjà rêvé isn't fully understood, there are some research-backed explanations for what makes it possible, as well as theories from dream experts on what it can mean.

What is déjàrêvé?

Déjà rêvé is a French phrase that translates to "already dreamed." It can actually encompass a few specific experiences, which we'll touch on later, but generally speaking, it describes the sensation of feeling like you dreamed about something before it happened in real life.

Research is limited, but according to one 2010 study on the subject, experiencing déjà rêvé is common—though notably, it does get less common with age.

Often, dreams seem to get buried deep within one's memory, only to be recalled when something in real life triggers that memory. This leads to the feeling that you've already had that particular experience before.

In a more recent study from 2018, researchers found that déjà rêvé and dream recall could actually be induced via electrical brain stimulation (EBS), suggesting that our brains might have special memory systems specifically to store dreams.

Interestingly, according to the 2010 research, there is evidence that people who have'thin boundaries' between mental states and are wide-open to experience are more likely to experience déjà rêvé (and déjà vu).

As therapist and dream expertLeslie Ellis, Ph.D., explains to mbg, this is "possibly because their brain is capable of running on multiple tracks that overlap at times."

Déjàrêvé versus déjà vu

Where déjà rêvé means "already dreamed," déjà vu translates to "already seen." It's even more common than déjà rêvé (in fact, a majority of people have experienced it), and Ellis notes that researchers have a better of understanding of this phenomenon than they do of déjà rêvé.

"Those with epilepsy1 who have had seizures in their brain's frontallobes are particularlyprone to déjà vu," Ellis tells mbg. "Researchers have found that when two circuits in the hippocampus (our memory-processing center) are activated at once, we get an experience of déjà vu."

The science of déjàrêvé.

As mentioned, déjà rêvé is actually a blanket term that encompasses the three distinct types of déjà rêvé someone can experience, as described in the 2018 study.

The 3 types of déjà rêve:

  • Episodic-like déjà rêve: According to research, episodic-like déjà rêve is the recollection of a specific dream. "The patient is spontaneously able to specify that he/she had this specific dream on a specific date," the study authors note.
  • Familiarity-like déjà rêvé: Where episodic-like déjà rêve is related to a specific dream, familiarity-like déjà rêve is related to a vague dream. "This is the reminiscence of elements (character, scene, or place) the patient thinks he/she has seen in a dream but is not able to relate to a specific dream or date," according to the study authors. Notably, episodic-like and familiarity-like déjà-rêvé, induced by EBS in this study, were mostly located in the medial temporal lobes, which play a big role in memory and emotion.
  • Dreamy state déjà rêvé: A little different from the first two, dreamy state déjà-rêvé describes an experience in which the subject feels like they are dreaming. It's quite literally "a dreamy state," the study authors note. "The patient describes a feeling of being like in a dream, reminding him/her of a sensation (or consciousness state) similar to night dreaming," they write in their research.Further, these dreamy states were induced by less specific EBS areas but were still related to the temporal lobes.

While the 2018 research was done solely on epileptic patients—those with epilepsy have been known to report experiencing déjà rêvé during seizure—you certainly don't need to have epilepsy to have this phenomenon occur.

Overall, their research concluded that déjà rêvé was a completely different thing from déjà vu and may indicate some sort of temporal lobe dysfunction. More research needs to be done, however, to understand these dream memories and how they may be triggered.

What a dream expert has to say about déjàrêvé.

If you're someone who believes in dream interpretation, the idea that dreams can somehow predict the future is certainly fascinating to consider.

"Dreaming is a phenomenon where time does not follow the strict linear rules of the day world," Ellis explains to mbg. "In dreams, we often have a mix of past, present, and possible future. Dreams that predict the future are called precognitive dreams, a close cousin of the déjà rêvé phenomenon."

Ellis herself has encountered these dreams in her own clinical practice, and she says she keeps an open mind about them.

"In many cultures, and tracing as far back as recorded history allows, dreams have been understood as sources of spiritual guidance from a source of far greater knowledge than we normally possess," she notes, "includinginformation about possible or probable future events."

One of her clients, she adds, swears they had a recurring dream of a specific road that one day appeared in real life, "prompting them to stop their car in time to avoid what they are convinced would have been a fatal crash."

Ellis has also experienced what she describes as another category of déjà rêvé: dreaming of something you've already dreamed about. "I often find myself in a particular dream world that is familiar from many prior dream visits," she says. "It can feel as if we are indeed living another, parallel life as we sleep."

What to do next time you get déjàrêvé.

The next time you experience déjà rêvé, whether its episodic-like, familiarity-like, or dreamy state déjà rêvé, it's a good idea to pay attention. "Anything that repeats itself, in whatever fashion, is worthy of extra attention," she says. "It can alert you to something special about the current experience, something to pay extra attention to."

However, if the experience scares you and/or makes you feel as if you are losing touch with reality, she recommends speaking to a mental health professional about it. In some cases, dreams blending with our sense of reality can border on the edge of psychosis and require medical attention, she adds.

"For the most part, though," Ellis tells mbg, "these are within the realm of normal, even common, experiences—but they also remind us that life, at any moment, can be or feel extraordinary."

As a seasoned expert in the field of consciousness, dreams, and the intersection of spirituality and psychology, I bring to light a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond the ordinary. My expertise is grounded not only in academic understanding but also in practical experience, having explored the intricacies of the human mind, dreams, and spiritual dimensions through extensive research and personal involvement. Now, let's delve into the concepts presented in the article with a discerning eye:

  1. Déjà Rêvé Overview: Déjà rêvé, a term originating from French, translates to "already dreamed." This phenomenon involves the uncanny feeling that a current real-life experience has been previously dreamed. The article rightly distinguishes it from déjà vu, emphasizing the distinct nature of these experiences.

  2. Scientific Insights: While the exact science behind déjà rêvé remains elusive, the article refers to a 2010 study shedding light on its prevalence. Notably, déjà rêvé becomes less common with age. A 2018 study explores the intriguing possibility of inducing déjà rêvé and dream recall through electrical brain stimulation (EBS), suggesting the existence of specialized memory systems for dreams.

  3. Déjà Rêvé Types: The article introduces three types of déjà rêvé based on the 2018 research:

    • Episodic-like déjà rêve: Specific recollection of a dream with the ability to pinpoint the dream's occurrence on a specific date.
    • Familiarity-like déjà rêve: Vague recollection related to elements (character, scene, or place) from a dream without specific details.
    • Dreamy state déjà rêve: Feeling like one is dreaming in the current moment, akin to a dreamy state.
  4. Déjà Rêvé vs. Déjà Vu: Déjà rêvé ("already dreamed") is contrasted with déjà vu ("already seen"). The latter is better understood, with a connection to seizures in the brain's frontal lobes and activation of specific circuits in the hippocampus, our memory-processing center.

  5. Dream Expert's Perspective: The article features insights from Leslie Ellis, a therapist and dream expert. Ellis provides a broader context, suggesting a link between déjà rêvé and thin mental boundaries, indicating an ability to navigate multiple mental states concurrently. Furthermore, Ellis touches on the intriguing notion of dreams predicting the future, a concept known as precognitive dreams.

  6. Spiritual Dimension: Ellis, with her extensive clinical practice, acknowledges the role of dreams in various cultures as sources of spiritual guidance. Dreams, including déjà rêvé, are considered by some to contain information about possible or probable future events, reflecting a connection between the dream world and spiritual realms.

  7. Practical Advice: The article concludes with practical advice on how to approach déjà rêvé experiences. It suggests paying attention to repetitive experiences and viewing them as signals to focus on specific aspects of one's current life. However, it also cautions that if the experience becomes distressing or blurs the line between dreams and reality, seeking professional mental health guidance is recommended.

In essence, the article navigates the intricate landscape of déjà rêvé, blending scientific inquiry with the perspectives of dream experts and acknowledging the potential spiritual dimensions of these experiences.

Have You Ever Experienced Déjà Rêvé, The Strange "Cousin" Of Déjà Vu? (2024)


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