Did you ever feel like a thing you remembered with details and confidence, isn’t the same anymore and has also changed back in past? This is known as the Mandela Effect. This collection of false memories or misremembrances came into view when in 2010, Fiona Broome, a self-proclaimed paranormal consultant, coined this term. She had this experience when she was at a meeting with a group of people and mentioned that she remembered the death of Nelson Mandela, a South African activist in 1980s along with some other people. Some of them even remembered watching the funeral ceremony on television and hearing to the speech by his widow. The interesting fact here is Nelson Mandela was alive during this discussion and later in 2013, he passed away. When she put her this experience on the internet, many other people came up with their such strange experiences. One such is remembering the queen in snow white, calling the mirror on the wall as, “mirror, mirror on the wall”. The correct phrase is “magic mirror on the wall”.
- Mandela effect was explained as a pseudoscientific theory. Fiona claimed that differences have arisen from the movement between parallel realities. This is based on the theory that alternative versions of events and objects exist within each universe. This can be known when in 2000 or 2012, the world is said to end and people believe we got into a different parallel universe, maybe the parallel one or the original one. And during this journey, few changes happened in the world that made changes in the past.
- She also made a comparison between existence and the holodeck of USS Enterprise from Star Trek. the holodeck was a virtual reality system. It creates recreational experiences. She explained that memory errors are software glitches.
- There are also other theories which propose the Mandela effect as evidence of changes made in history by time travellers. Also, there are beliefs that such distortions of memory occur due to spiritual attacks linked to Satan, black magic, witchcraft etc. There are many stories about time travellers once in a while. Some people were found claiming they are from 2050, 4415 or so on.
- Psychologists explain this as memory or social effects namely as a false memory. It involves mistakenly recalling events or experiences that haven’t occurred or distortion of already existing memories. Frederic Bartlett in 1932 demonstrated how memory is distorted by repeating or retelling. He told a story to a group of people and made them repeat it at a series of intervals. The story was altered with each repetition. This became a tendency for people to fill in the gaps of the original story with fake information.
- Confabulation is another cause that manufactures fabricated or misinterpreted memories. Confabulation may be a very common reason in everyday life. Have you ever noticed when we hear words that are similar or related to each other, we consider a similar word included? Such as when a group of people heard different sets of words but had two common words pillow and the bed they assumed bed was also included though it wasn’t.
- Source monitoring errors can also be a reason behind memory inaccuracy. This makes people fail in distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary. A US psychology professor, Jim Coan conducted an experiment on his family members. He explained to them about a incident from his childhood when his brother was lost in the mall. Surprisingly not only everyone agreed to remember that, but also his brother added details to it.
- Incorrect recollection of memory is also a reason can be counted behind this. Incorrect recollection can also be known as schema driven errors. Schemas are knowledge packets stored in an organised manner. They are the ones that direct memory. Schemas facilitate the understanding of the material. They sometimes can produce distortion. This can be explained by an example when people were asked to draw a clock face, they drew the new roman four in that like iv unlike what was real. Actually, fours on clocks were made like this iiii to make it look attractive.
- Another reason lays behind this is effort after meaning. This was coined by Frederic Bartlett in his 1932 book ‘remembering’, where he mentioned people take only the understandable necessary data and omit unfamiliar words or data. This was also proved in research when people remembered constant things in the office of a psychologist such as bookshelves and missed some inconsistent items such as a picnic basket.
- Over generalisation of spellings, knowledge is the case behind the KitKat effect. Where some people remembered it as having a hyphen in between kit and kat such as kit-kat. But it was actually like this KitKat from long ago.
- Circulation of false information is also a reason behind frequently reported errors that became part of collective reality. Mandela effect is known as attributable to memory errors and social misinformation.
- Also, there may be a probability of Mandela effect related to the multiverse. But until the notion of parallel universes is consistent with the work of quantum physics. Until the existence of alternative realities is established, psychological theories appear more plausible.
- Other diagnoses include cryptomnesia, which occurs when a forgotten memory returns without it being recognized by the subject.
- Another diagnosis explained a reason for, cryptomnesia. Cryptomnesia occurs when a forgotten memory returns back without it being recognised by the subject.
Our brain is a very mysterious place to wonder and a surprising body part. There may be a probability that our brains work in a manner quite different from what we learnt or realised yet. The existence of a parallel universe or multiverse is a mystery yet to be solved. Till that date, theories keep coming up trying to prove one thing or other.