10 Strange Phenomena of the Mind

We know that some of our viewers are college students who aspire to be psychologists. Thanks to many of you, you inspire us each and every day to learn with you! We recognize that one important component of psychology is cognition, which is the action or process of gaining knowledge through thought, experiences, and the senses. In this day and age, the mind is still such an enigma. To help sustain your relentless passion and curiosity, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to what is bizarre, familiar, and unknown all at once. Psych2Go shares with you 10 strange phenomena of the mind:

1. Deja Vu

Deja vu is when you find yourself in an experience that you are sure you’ve been in or seen before. In other words, you feel as though the event has happened already in the past or is being repeated. There’s a sense of eeriness, familiarity, and peculiarity that you can’t seem to shake off. This experience often involves a dream you had, but in other cases, you may be certain that it has actually happened before.

2. Deja Vecu

Deja vecu is often mixed up with deja vu. While deja vu is the feeling of having seen or experienced something before, deja vecu is the experience of having seen an event before —but in vivid details. In this case, you are able to recognize scents and sounds. But, the eeriness doesn’t stop there. When you experience deja vecu, you also have a strong ability to know and predict what will happen next.

3. Deja Visite

Deja visite is a less common experience. It happens when you go to a new place and oddly have a lot of knowledge about it. For instance, you may know your way around a town or city you have never been to before. Basically, deja visite focuses on the familiar feelings one experiences when triggered geographically.

4. Deja Senti

Deja senti involves the feeling of already having felt something before. It’s when you feel like you have just spoken, only to discover that you, in fact, didn’t utter a single word. You will be able to recall something that happened, but was forgotten for a long time. The recollection occurs when you have certain thoughts, hear someone else’s voice, or when you’re reading something that triggers it. You will then say a phrase like, “Oh, I see,” or “Yes, I remember.” But, the memory disappears just as quickly as it forms. A few minutes later, you find that you can’t remember what you were thinking about or what words you spoke.

5. Jamais Vu

Jamais vu, which means “never seen,” is when a familiar situation isn’t recognized. Jamais vu is the opposite of deja vu, because the individual doesn’t recognize the situation, even though they know that they have experienced it before. Neuropsychologist Chris Moulin of Leeds University asked 92 volunteers to write the word “door” 30 times in a minute. Moulin discovered that 68% of his participants experienced jamais vu when they were beginning to doubt “door” was a real word. As a result, he concluded that jamais vu may occur due to brain fatigue.

6. Presque Vu

Presque vu occurs when you feel as though you are about to experience an epiphany, even though it doesn’t usually happen. One experiences presque vu when they think they have the answer or solution to something that has been undetermined. In other words, it’s like a false sense of knowing —almost understanding something, but not quite.

7. L’espirit de l’Escalier

L’espirit de l’escalier, which means stairway wit, is when one thinks up a clever comeback when it’s too late. The phrase comes from the idea that by the time something useful comes to mind, you are already on the “staircase” moving away from the situation. Usually, when one experiences this phenomenon, there is a pang of regret that follows because they wish their comeback was thought sooner when applicable.

8. Capgras Delusion

Capgras delusion occurs when one believes that their friend or a loved one has been replaced by an identical imposter. This delusion is frequently experienced by people who have schizophrenia. It goes along with the idea that some people believe aliens take over the bodies of humans when they visit our planet. In other words, it exudes sci-fi vibes.

9. Fregoli Delusion

Fregoli delusion is when one believes that many different people are actually the same person in multiple disguises. Often, when someone experiences fregoli delusion, they are paranoid that this person is trying to persecute them. The name derives from Italian actor Leopoldo Fregoli who was known for his ability to make quick changes of appearance on stage.

10. Prosopagnosia

Prosopagnosia occurs when the individual cannot recognize faces or objects they should be aware of. Those who experience this phenomenon can recognize people by using other senses, such as someone’s perfume or the sound of their voice. An example of this phenomenon can be found in the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

Which of these phenomena do you find most intriguing? Would you be interested in learning about case studies or further research pertaining to these circumstances? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!



Cognitive Psychology. (2017). Retrieved November 2, 2017, from www.meriam-webster.com

Top 10 Strange Phenomena of the Mind. (2008, February 28). Retrieved November 2, 2017, from listverse.com

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  1. I can relate to a lot of this. This is totally fascinating. I had some pretty mysterious and fascinating things come to me mostly in my dreams and then I would later recall them.

  2. I either have deja vu or deja vecu but I honestly can’t distinguish the two. I often get the feelings that were part of the situation that I found myself in. One day I was speaking with my music teacher with a classmate of mine and his older brother and I got this strong sense of deja vu (at least I think that’s what it was) when I totally recognized the scene, from what my music teacher was wearing to what the conversation and the feeling of the room was. It was so disorienting. I wonder why that stood out so much when I haven’t had frequent deja vu in a long time, probably since the 6th grade.