What’s The Mandela Effect Definition?
The Mandela effect occurs when your brain tricks you into believing you remembered something that you didn’t. This phenomenon originated from the 80’s when several people claimed they remembered hearing about Nelson Mandela’s death on television, despite the fact that Mandela actually passed away December 5, 2013. In fact, Fiona Broome coined the term in the year 2010, after she and several others found out that their memory about Nelson Mandela dying in the 80’s was false. Broome could also recall memories of Billy Graham passing way and episodes of Star Trek that never aired, which are both widely held false memories. What makes the Mandela effect so intriguing and peculiar is the fact that there have been several instances where multiple people have the same false memories. Some notables examples of the Mandela effect include people falsely remembering “Oscar Mayer” being spelled “Oscar Meyer” from commercials, people mistakenly remembering Pikachu’s tail tip being black, people incorrectly remembering Curious George having a tail, people mistakenly believing that Kit Kat had a dash in the middle, several individuals incorrectly remember the show “Sex and the City” being named “Sex in the City”, people mistakenly recall Jif peanut butter being named Jiffy, and people falsely remembering Darth Vader saying “Luke, I am your father.” Moreover, people have attributed the widespread prevalence of this phenomenon to bad memory, insanity, and even time travelers and parallel universes.
Another mandela effect example, EpicJourneyMan, a Redditor shares a false memory. A movie that never happened. EpicJourneyMan recollects an extremely detailed memory of a movie Shazaam apparently (according to him) released in the 1990s when he was working at a video store. He claims to buy two copies of the movie and even watching it a few times because the renters complained it was damaged. He also describes the movie plot in great detail.
Surprise! The movie Shazaam was never made! It’s a false memory that EpicJourneyMan recollects and so do several other people.
Scientific Theories And Hypothesis Regarding False Memories:
In 1957, a quantum physicist named Hugh Everett III originated the theory of multiple realities and parallel universes existing. Also, Fiona Broome believed the Mandela effect could be credited to alternative realities. Broome believes that she and the other people that claimed they witnessed or heard about Mandela dying in the 80’s were in an alternative universe at the time, but somehow their reality got intertwined with another reality. In modern times, neuroscientists have developed their own theories, hypothesis, and concepts to explain the Mandela effect. One very important thing to note about memory is it’s interconnected to multiple networks inside the brain. Our memories move from the hippocampus part of our brain to the prefrontal cortex part of our brain in a process called consolidation. When we think back to remember certain things, the neurons that regulate our memory are reactivated in a process called re-consolidation. The process of re-consolidation can strengthen an individual’s learning gradually over time, but it also comes with potential pitfalls. For example, Neuroscientists believe that during the action of recalling memories or re-consolidation, our memory becomes susceptible to losing accuracy. In other words, your brain reconnecting to certain a memory could lead to that memory being distorted or altered.
Psychological Factors That Affect Memory:
According to psychologists, the main factors that lead to the Mandela effect occurring in several situations include misinformation, bias, misconceptions, cognitive dissonance, false memories, confabulation, misattribution and cryptomnesia.
- A large group of people receiving false information can alter their memories or perception of a particular event.
- Preconceived notions and set beliefs will lead people to ignore real evidence surrounding an event to confirm their own bias accounts of what happened.
- As technology and science evolve, so does our understanding of the world around us. There have been several instances throughout human history where something was perceived as a fact, but when new informant emerges, it is disproven. Misconceptions are born out of ignorance, and the more humans advance, the more these misconceptions come to light.
- When an individual can’t handle being exposed to information that contradicts their belief system, this is classified as cognitive dissonance.
- People develop false memories when they remember things that never happened. False memories are often linked to a traumatic event or experience. In many cases, trauma victims brain will create false memories to cope with what happened to them.
- Confabulation occurs when a person’s memory is altered, which causes people to remember events that never happened and fabricated information.
- The misattribution of memory occurs when an individual’s brain associates a memory with the wrong event.
- When a person mistakes their imagination for reality, that is called cryptomnesia.
Some other Scientific studies have shown that memory retrieval is heavily distorted by previous recollections of an event. When we remember something, we really are remembering the last time we remembered it.
Here’s a sample of how such a sequence might go:
Step 1) An event happens.
Step 2) We remember it later. We use selective memory, essentially an editing process, choosing certain details but not others. We also might add possible distortions, including details that were not a part of the original event. This now forms a new selective and distorted memory.
Step 3) The next time we think of it, we are mostly remembering Step 2, essentially digging up THAT memory again rather than recalling Step 1. The memory can be further edited and distorted, again creating a new altered memory.
Step 4) We remember it again – this time digging up the twice-distorted Step 3. We might make more edits and add further distortions to create yet another altered memory.
Step 5) Lather, rinse and repeat.
Memory retrieval is a tricky thing. The scenario above sheds light on why repetition is such a powerful programming memory tool, and it might explain how “gaslighting” works. With selective memory, we choose which details to include in the ongoing narrative. The story can change over time, whether we’re conscious of it or not.
Now let’s consider The Mandela Effect. This phenomenon refers to “shared” memories that are factually untrue; that is, many people remember something that never happened. How do we account for these shared false memories? How can MANY people remember something that never happened? It’s one thing for memories to be slightly altered with repetition, as described above – it’s another thing for many people to share memories of an event that never happened at all.
The power of suggestion, of course, is one possible explanation. Mandela Effect memories might simply be a matter of people hearing an idea and – without being certain of it – saying to themselves “Yeah I think I remember that too.” If, during this moment of uncertain “suggested” memory, they VISUALIZE the event being true – this would create a NEW MEMORY of the event or idea, even if it never happened. Then, re-running the Remembering Memories loop of steps outlined above, they’d reinforce the memory every time it came to mind.
Parallel Universes and Alternate Realities
One popular and intriguing Mandela Effect theory is straight out of science fiction. To explain, we turn to the mind-bending realms of quantum physics and string theory.
There are an infinite number of parallel universes – and each one is unique – but many of them are just slightly different from each other. That’s one theory of advanced physics. If this theory is true, then the world we live in might be very similar to the Earth in a nearby universe.
Parallel universes, alternate worlds, exotic physics: what does this have to do with memory?
Well, that’s when things get really strange. The parallel universe idea suggests that false memories might actually be TRUE memories, they’re just memories of a different universe. But how can this be? How can we remember a universe that we are not in?
Parallel universes, so the theory goes, are constantly being created by events and decisions. Extremists to this idea suggest that every small action creates a new universe. Here’s an example of mandela effect: suppose you’re out for a walk in the park, and you come to a fork in the sidewalk. You stand there for a moment deciding which path to take. You decide to go left.
Now, the universe that you’re in is the one where you went left. However, a new universe was created in which you went right. Any number of unknowable consequences could result from that simple decision.
An Alternate Cuban Missile Crisis
Now let’s take a bigger example: the Cuban missile crisis. It was the closest that the United States and the Soviet Union ever came to nuclear war. At one point, Soviet ships were steaming towards Cuba and were turned back by a U.S. Navy blockade. But, what if the Soviet ships had ignored the blockade and kept on steaming ahead? What if US gunships had been forced to fire? What outcomes might have shaken out?
Suppose a Soviet ship is disabled. Tensions escalate, and the Soviets respond. The ship is only disabled though, and even though there is a skirmish between the two countries, full-scale war does not break out. However, relations between the two nations are changed forever. That’s a new universe.
Now suppose a ship is sunk, or two or three. Soviet military forces respond by attacking the United States fleet. The US responds in an escalating war. In the end, there is a nuclear exchange, and the entire world is changed forever by this conflict. That’s yet another new universe.
According to parallel universe theory, with an infinite number of possible universes, both of those universes were probably created during that fateful period of time, plus many others with different scenarios. If it’s really true that a single event can spawn a new universe, then the timeline that we live in is only one example of an infinite number of timelines.
An Alternate South Africa
Back to the Mandela Effect. Now let’s consider apartheid in South Africa. By the middle of the 1980s, Nelson Mandela had been in prison for over two decades. The U.N., the United States and Great Britain had all imposed economic sanctions on South Africa. In years to come, reforms and a new president in South Africa led to the end of apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.
But what if there had been a fateful event or decision, and those reforms never happened? What if conditions have become worse instead of better, leading to Nelson Mandela’s death in prison? That fateful event or decision might have spawned a new parallel universe – one in which Nelson Mandela DID die in prison.
Strange Questions about False Memory
What if the people who share that false memory of Nelson Mandela’s death in prison are simply remembering events from that parallel universe? How could this happen? How could it be that people are remembering events from a different universe? Why would some people remember an alternate timeline, while most people remember this one? Are there some ways that parallel universes might be connected so that events, memories and impressions might bleed through?
What does it mean when we remember something that never happened? Are our minds playing tricks on us? Is it just selective memory? Have we gradually distorted memories of the events over the course of many memory retrieval alterations? Or … Are we, in fact, remembering something from a parallel universe that is not a part of this timeline? Did something change in the past so that many possible timelines were created, each with different events? Can we REALLY reach across the ether to connect with an entirely different timeline than the one we live in?
Crazy questions. It seems like false memory – especially the Mandela Effect’s SHARED false memory – creates more questions than it answers.
Neuroscientists, psychologists, and conspiracy theorists all have attributed their own theories to what is the root cause of the phenomenon known as the Mandela effect. Still, the debate rages on about why so many people are misremembering historical events, movie titles, television episodes, movie scenes, pop culture characters, and many more things. Could we all be living in parallel universes? Are time travelers altering significant cultural events? Is cognitive dissonance to blame? Or are people just insane? There is no definitive answer. It could be a combination of all of the above. But one thing is for certain, the Mandela effect is a real thing that touches millions of people from different walks of life. In conclusion, we live in the age of information, where science and technology are both evolving at a rapid pace, so it is only a matter time before researchers and scientists find the true cause behind the Mandela effect phenomenon.
P.S. A Survey is in the works which will be posted on this website soon which can (possibly) give an insight as to what the people have experienced.