Mandela effect: what it is and examples

What is the Mandela effect?

Mandela effect is known as a phenomenon whereby people share a memory of a fact that never happened. That is, the Mandela effect occurs when a collective recalls a fictitious fact as true.

The expression Mandela effect was popularized in 2009 by the South African Fiona Broome. In his blog, Broome related that he shared with others the memory that Nelson Mandela had died in prison in 1980, and that his funeral had been broadcast on television. However, she herself was surprised when Nelson Mandela was released in 1990.

According to psychology, the human brain has the ability to modify memories over time. Memory is constructed of linked fragments, which can lead to errors in information processing.

True memories are interfered with by new information received from the environment (acts of communication), by the belief system and by the imagination, responsible for coherently connecting the fragments. Memory, therefore, does not discriminate the quality of the memory (if it is real or fictitious).

In fact, this quality of individual memory is related to the crypto, which happens when the person truly believes that he has invented something that, in fact, was already invented. How to explain the collective phenomenon?

Theoretical explanations

There are other theories to explain this effect. Among them we can mention the external induction of memories. Another widely used theory, although less accepted, is the hypothesis of parallel universes. Let’s see.

The external induction of memories argues that people are exposed to the induction of information through social actors (individual, institutional or corporate). Hypnosis and media outreach are an example.

When there is a gap in the information that does not allow connecting the known with the observed, the brain tries to solve it, while memory, unable to distinguish true and not true memories, stores the information.

Thus, the acts of communication collaborate in the construction of coherent collective memories, since in addition, all false or true beliefs are anchored in a common cultural imaginary.

In the external induction of memories, disinformation plays an important role. However, the Mandela effect is not necessarily related to the conspiracy theory. The determining factor is the way the brain has to organize information and build meaning.

The theory of parallel universes It’s the explanation Broome holds. His hypothesis is based on quantum physics, according to which there would be parallel planes in the universe, in which the human being would have the ability to participate. Hence, different people may have the same memories or similar memories of episodes that never occurred.

Popular examples of the Mandela effect

References that exemplify the Mandela effect can be found in the network. It is a series of memories that have been conventionalized, but that deform a part of reality or all of it. Namely:

  • 1. The man in front of the tank in Tiananmen. In 1989, during the famous Tiananmen Square protests in China, a man stood in front of the tanks to avoid his advance. Many people have since declared memories of the man being thrown. However, in the video, world famous, it is observed that such a winding never happened.
  • 2. The sanctification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonized in 2016 during Francisco’s pontificate. However, when this was announced, many people were surprised, as they shared the memory that their canonization had occurred during the pontificate of John Paul II.
  • 3. What color is C-3PO from Star Wars? Almost everyone remembers it golden, but in reality, C-3PO has a silver leg.
  • 4. Mr. Monopoly with monocle. Many remember Mr. Monopoly, a character in the popular Hasbro game, as a rich man with a monocle. However, the beloved imaginary tycoon has never had it.