Have you ever been sure that a particular event occurred, only to find out that you were wrong and that actually never happened?
This phenomenon is known as the Mandela Effect, named after the prevalent belief that Nelson Mandela died in prison in the 1980s, even though he was released in 1990 and lived until 2013. So, what is the Mandela Effect, and what causes it?
What is the Mandela Effect?
The Mandela Effect is a term used to describe the collective misremembering of a particular fact or event. That can include everything from movie lines and song lyrics to historical events and geographical locations.
As shown by ExpressVPN, the Mandela Effect has become increasingly popular in recent years, with numerous examples being shared on social media and discussed in online forums and blogs.
Examples of Mandela Effect
One of the most famous examples of the Mandela Effect is The Berenstain Bears. Many people remember the children's book series is spelled as the Berenstein Bears, with an “e” instead of an “a.”
Another example is the line from the movie Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, where Darth Vader famously says, “Luke, I am your father.” However, in the film, he says, “No, I am your father.”
What causes the Mandela Effect?
There are several theories, but none have been proven for sure. One possibility is that it simply results from our flawed brain memory process. As explained by the cognitive psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Loftus in a TED talk, memory is unlike a video recording we can replay whenever we want.
Instead, it is a constructive process where our brain fills in gaps and makes assumptions based on our prior knowledge and experiences. That means external factors, such as suggestions, misinformation, or even mood, can easily influence our memories.
An alternative theory is that the Mandela Effect results from parallel universes or alternate realities. According to this theory, when we experience the Mandela Effect, we actually remember a fact or event from a different universe or reality where we exist as the same being. While this may seem far-fetched, it has gained popularity in online communities and even inspired a science fiction TV show called “Sliders.”
Regardless of the cause, the Mandela Effect highlights the frailty of human memory and the importance of fact-checking. As shown by a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans get their news from social media, where misinformation can spread rapidly.
Verifying information and seeking out multiple sources is more important than ever. News on social media is easily manipulated, and with the rise of AI, more deepfakes are generated to confuse and manipulate users.
How can we avoid falling victim to the Mandela Effect?
One strategy is to question our memories and look for external validation. That can include checking multiple sources and consulting with others to verify a particular fact or event. In addition, it is important to stay vigilant and be aware of the potential for manipulation online.
In conclusion, while the causes of the Mandela Effect are still being debated, it is clear that external factors, such as suggestions or misinformation, can easily influence our memories. By questioning our memories and seeking external validation, we can avoid falling victim to the Mandela Effect and ensure that we are making informed decisions based on accurate information.
It is important to double-check news outlets, especially on social media, as a lot of data can be promoted as news. Still, it is generated nonsense to attract more clicks and generate traffic online.