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#8 Jamais Vu – 10 Strange Phenomena of the Human Mind


Your mind is an incredible organ, perhaps because it is able to process information and coordinate in a way even scientists cannot fully explain. But the mind is not devoid it’s problems. Although there are dozens of known medical conditions that affect the human mind, there’s still a small number of conditions that haven’t been fully understood. In the last few weeks, we have been focusing on the top 10 strange phenomena of the human mind, and this weeks’ focus on ‘jamais vu’ is a continuation of that list.

What is Jamais Vu

Jamais Vu is a French word that means ‘never seen’. It refers to a situation that’s familiar and yet not recognizable. People who have been affected by this strange condition do not recognize the situation they are in despite rationally knowing that they have been there before. Think about a situation where you can momentarily recognize a place, a word or a person that you know. Chris Moulin, a researcher at Leeds University, gathered 92 volunteers and requested them to scribble down the world ‘door’ 30 times within 60 seconds. According to this report, more than 60% of these volunteers exhibited symptoms of Jamais Vu (for instance, beginning to doubt that ‘door’ was a real word). Based on his observations, Jamais Vu could possibly be a symptom of brain fatigue.

The Opposite of Déjà vu

Jamais Vu is known to be the opposite of Déjà vu. The person involved feels that they recognize a particular situation, and yet it still seems very unknown or unfamiliar. In medical quarters, Jamais Vu has been associated with specific types of epilepsy or amnesia. In individuals experiencing seizures, Jamais Vu has manifested as a visual aura due to partial seizure disorders originating from the temporal lobe. It has also been known to occur as a migraine aura. Currently, scientists are conducting research involving schizophrenic patients and thus believe that when a schizophrenic person believes that a familiar person has been replaced by an impostor, this could be caused by chronic jamais vu.

Not Presque Vu

There’s a whole lot of difference between Jamais Vu and Presque Vu. In French, Presque Vu means ‘almost seen’, and it’s the sensation of being on the brink of an epiphany. It is the feeling that something is on the tip of your tongue. Déjà vu and Presque Vu are the two main conditions that are closely related to Jamais Vu.

Based on Chris Moulin’s findings, anyone can easily find out whether they suffer from Jamais Vu by repeatedly trying to say (out loud) or write out a word. If after a few seconds you start to feel that ‘there’s no way it’s a real word’, despite the fact that you already know that it’s a few word, then you might have Jamais Vu.

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