What Is The Mandela Effect? Why Does It Happen?

Last Update on January 16, 2023 : Published on January 16, 2023
What-Is-The-Mandela-Effect

Have you heard of the Mandela effect? It is when a group of people believe in the existence of an event that in reality never existed. It must have happened to you also; do you remember recalling something that never took place?

Okay, let me explain it to you with an example. Can you recall Pikachu (the Pokémon)? It was a yellow creature with a black tail, right? Well, the black zig-zag tail never existed, Pikachu was a completely yellow Pokémon with a yellow tail. Most of us remember him having a black tail, which is not true.

This is the Mandela effect, where we all could recall something that never existed. Don’t believe me? Go google Pikachu images and see for yourself. Want to know more about the Mandela effect? Read on and find out why it happens…

What Is The Mandela Effect?

Mandela Effect

The Mandela effect is a phenomenon where a group of people can recall a false memory or incorrect information about the same thing. It is very easy for an individual to remember false memories and completely believe them to be true. The Mandela effect can be a product of the same.

Do you know how the Mandela effect got its name?

The “Mandela” in the Mandela effect comes from Nelson Mandela (South African human rights activist). It’s true! Many people for a long time believed that Nelson Mandela died in the 1980s. Fiona Broome in 2009 discovered that many people think he died in the 1980s when in reality Nelson Mandela was alive at that time. He died in 2013!

Fiona Broome was the one who introduced the world to this strangely funny phenomenon of believing things/events that never took place. She also had a website where she uploaded various details about her observations about the Mandela effect.

Also read: The Psychology Of Memory: Formation, Duration, Types, And More

Why Does It Happen?

Mandela-Effect

When I first read about the Mandela effect and its examples, I was shocked. There were so many false memories that I believed in too. I would always wonder how something so strange could happen to so many people at the same time!

So, I read and read and found a few explanations for the Mandela effect. Let’s have a look at them;

  • According to neuroscience, our memories are stored in different folders like pockets. Each folder has an association attached to it and all memories that associate with each other are stored in one folder. Therefore, when we recall something there is a high chance of it being influenced by other memories and we end up remembering a false (made-up) memory.
  • Confabulations can also be a reason behind us experiencing the Mandela effect. Confabulations are when your brain fills in the missing bits from your memory. It is when those gaps in memory are filled by some other information so that the whole thing makes sense to your brain.
  • Another reason can be the misleading information one receives right after the event has taken place. For example, you just had a narrow escape from a terrible accident and your friend comes up and tells you that the car that almost pulled over you had loud music and drunk people in it, you’re most likely to start believing that you heard the music and saw drunk people too.
  • The internet and social media are also responsible for making people experience the Mandela effect. Our memories can be influenced by the information we receive from the outer world about a particular event. It is a place where misunderstandings, misinformation, and misconceptions reside.

Also read: What Is Sensory Memory? Know The Types, Examples & Facts About This Memory Type

Mandela Effect Examples

Mandela effect examples are the best explanations for this phenomenon. Nothing explains it better than its examples. I’ve already shared the Pikachu example with you, let’s have a look at some other examples of the Mandela effect;

  • It was widely believed that there is a painting of Henry VIII eating a turkey leg. Many cartoons and animated series have used a similar painting but the truth is that such a painting never existed.
  • Have you watched Star Wars? Remember when Darth Vader says, “Luke, I am your father”? Well, it might surprise you to know that the actual line was “No, I am your father” He never said Luke but the line was so popular that most people believed it to be correct.
  • Do you remember how Mickey Mouse looks? Can you recall its clothes? Remember him wearing suspenders? Well, there are no suspenders in this dress! Somehow our brain has just added those suspenders to his costume.

Also read: 9 Natural Ways On How To Improve Memory & Increase Brain Power

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about the Mandela effect and why it may occur helpful, interesting, and informative. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that we all know how our brains can trick us into believing things that don’t even exist. Let’s not depend on memory and always do a fact-check!

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

As Seen On