Skip to main content


Jamais vu, from the French, meaning “never seen,” refers to any familiar situation that is not recognized by the observer. Largely considered the opposite of déjà vu, it often involves a sense of eeriness and the observer’s impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before.

Current Knowledge

Jamais vu occurs fairly often in the typical population (between 40 and 60%). It often manifests itself as a momentary lack of recognition of a familiar word, person, or place. For example, when you look at your own face in the mirror and it begins to look strange, or if you temporarily forget what a pedal does when you are driving.

It is possible to induce jamais vu in a laboratory setting. For example, if people write down familiar words such as “wood” 30 times in 1 min, the majority will report experiencing jamais vu. After writing the word over and over again, people may feel as if they were writing a...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 1,350.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 1,299.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References and Readings

  • Bigal, M. E., Lipton, R. B., Cohen, J., & Silberstein, S. D. (2003). Epilepy and migraine. Epilepsy and Behavior, 4, S13–S24.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sengoku, A., Toichi, M., & Murai, T. (1997). Dreamy states and psychoses in temporal lobe epilepsy: The mediating role of affect. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 51, 23–26.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sno, H. N. (2000). Déjà vu and jamais vu. In G. E. Berrios, & J. R. Hodges (Eds.), Memory disorders in psychiatric practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Spector, F. (2011). Jamais Vu. In: Kreutzer, J.S., DeLuca, J., Caplan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer, New York, NY.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-79947-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-79948-3

  • eBook Packages: Behavioral Science

Publish with us

Policies and ethics