Already Seen

Discussion & Reading Comprehension Activity
"We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time. "   (Charles Dickens in David Copperfield - ch 39 )


  • Do you have a good memory or a bad memory? Do you usually remember things or forget things? Can you give a few examples? 
  • Some people find that a certain melody, sound or smell brings back a childhood memory, such as the perfume of a flower or food that your mother cooked when you were you were a kid. Have you ever experienced that?
  • Other people find that visiting a certain place brings back a feeling of a repeated scene. Has it happened to you?

Reading Comprehension

Read the article below and answer the questions that follow.

Our five senses help form our memory. At times sensory information retrieves a smell of lemon cake from childhood, the feeling of being in a familiar place or a face we think we know. This episode is called deja-vu or “already seen”.

Does it happen to most of us? Déjà vu is not considered a rare phenomenon. Surveys show that about one third of the population has had the most common form of déjà vu sensations.

These sensations are often felt through several senses: seeing, hearing, taste, touch and smell perceptions. The experience is often incredibly detailed and is usually connected to very normal activities. Although the episode itself lasts from only a fraction of a second to several minutes, it can often be remembered in detail long after the episode has occurred.

What causes a déjà vu episode? There are several possible explanations for what is occurring during a déjà vu experience. One possibility is simply the occasional mismatch made by the brain to create whole pictures out of very small pieces of information. When the brain receives a small sensory input similar to such a detail experienced in the past, the entire memory image is brought forward.

Another explanation for déjà vu is that there is a slight malfunctioning between the long and short-term memory circuits of the brain. When a new, recent piece of information is drawn upon, the person thinks that the piece is coming from long-term storage and so must have come from the distant past.

Anyway, even though there is still no proven theory concerning these episodes, scientists agree that a  better understanding of déjà vu may lead us closer to an understanding of the complex relationship between ourselves and our memories.

a-What is the best summary of the article?
1)Theories for the cause of déjà vu.
2)A description of déjà vu episodes.
3)The connection between our senses, memory and déjà vu.

b-Which senses may intervene in déjà vu episodes?
1)smell and sight.
2)smell, sight and hearing.
3)all five senses.

c-According to the article, déjà vu episodes are...
1)Extremely common
2)Somehow common

d-According to the article, the explanations for déjà vu episodes are...

e-According to the article...
1)Memory plays an important role in déjà vu.
2)Our emotions play an important role in déjà vu.
3)Sensitivity plays an important role in déjà vu.

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