Recent studies have suggested that human memory may not be as reliable as what we once thought. In fact, it has recently been proven that 76% of adults nailed recall information accurately. This information can be something simple like misremembering a song lyric, or it can be more severe like imagining entire events that are not real. What is even more interesting is that while it is very common for people to misremember information, there are instances in which many different people all misremember the same events.
Enter the Mandela Effect
When multiple people misremember the same information it is known as the Mandela Effect. This is a psychological phenomenon that was coined in 2009 by paranormal expert Fiona Broome. The name refers to the large number of people all sharing the memory that Nelson Mandela passed away in 1980. Whie many people felt absolutely certain they had seen news articles about his death, Nelson Mandela did not pass away until 2013. While this is just the example that coined the term, there are many other common instances of the Mandela Effect.
What You Think You Remember Isn't True
Do you remember the classic program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood? Many people grew up with this TV show playing throughout their childhood and remember the theme song fondly. However, many people remember the lyrics as “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” when the real lyrics are “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood”. While this may seem like a small error to make, there are thousands of people who all remember this small piece of information incorrectly.
An even stranger example is the amount of people who believe that the Monopoly man was always drawn with a monocle on his eye. This character has never once been illustrated in this way, and yet there are thousands of people who swear they recall him wearing it on the box of the game. Even though these examples may seem insignificant, it is very interesting that so many people share the same false memory. There has been growing interest surrounding the Mandela Effect,and why people experience it, and while some people believe it may be a conspiracy of sorts, psychologists have stepped in to offer explanations.
One of the most widely accepted explanations behind this memory phenomenon is conformity. If a large group of people all share the same belief, it is more likely that another person will agree with them in order to feel included. Over time, if a person continues to conform to a larger group's belief system, they may suffer from a source memory error. This is when someone forgets the true source of their memory and it can be harder to make sense between true memories and beliefs and those that are brought on by conformity.
Can You Guard Against False Memories?
The Mandela Effect has also been explained by the commonality of false memories in humans. More people experience false memories than you may think with a reported 30% of adults who could be convinced of experiencing a fa;se autobiographical event. The commonality of false memories could be a result of the misinformation effect, where people have the tendency to believe things that are not actually real. It is also common for many people to theorize stories about information or their own memories without hard evidence, and this is often done unintentionally.
Even though the Mandela Effect is a very interesting aspect of human psychology, it can still be a frightening experience to learn a memory is not actually true. There are some steps you can take to avoid the Mandela Effect in your own life.
The easiest way to avoid the phenomena is fact checking. With the advent of technology, the Mandela Effect has been growing more common due to the way information is shared across the internet. More people are taking information at face value and not doing their own research to form their own opinions. If you take the time to get information from multiple sources, it will not only help prove its validity, but also help you make a better argument for your beliefs. To avoid false memories, it can help to create documentation of important events so as to not confuse the details of your own memories.
The best way to make sure you are not exposing yourself to possible Mandela Effects is to make sure you critically analyze your own memories and beliefs. It is very easy to conform to others beliefs, and being confident in your own thoughts can help defend yourself against potential memory lapses. The human mind and memory is a very complex system, and the Mandela Effect may be integral in helping learn more about it.