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Of course you are familiar with the beloved cartoon character Bugs Bunny, but do you remember its logo?
It was Looney Tunes.
And how about the most beloved Pokémonof all times Pikatchu what was his tail look like ?
It was the one on the left , with no black strip.
And how about the monopoly guy , Rich Uncle Penny Bagsdid he ware a monocle or not ?
Well in fact he didn’t. And he never did.
You’ll think that you’ve got all the answers wrong because those are trivial stuff that you probably did not give them much attention to stick in your memory.
But would not you be surprised if i told you that most people get the answers wrong?
This phenomenon is called the Mandela Effect.
It is a phenomenon that describes the situation of someone having a clear memory of something that didn’t happen in this reality.
As described by paranormal consultant Fiona Broom.
Fiona was the first to use this term “The Mandela Effect”.
After she had an interesting conversation with a group of friends about how the majority of people recall Nelson Mandela's death in the late 1980's in a prison in south Africa with almost the exact same details about his funeral , while in fact , he got out of prison in 1990 and died in 2012 because of a respiratory infection.
Fiona came up with a website with the same name trying to explain this phenomenon.
She relayed on the Multiverse Theory in her explanation.
The Multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes including the universe in which we live in.
Together these universes comprise everything that exist the entirety of space , time , matter , energy and the physical laws and constants that describe them.
The different universes within the multiverse are called Parallel Universes while other universes are called Alternative Universes.
Fiona claims that the Mandela Effect arise from the movement between parallel realities.
The physics community has debated that various multiverse theories over time.
Prominent physicists are divided about whether any other universes exist outside of our own.
Some physicists say that the multiverse is not legitimate topic of scientific inquiry.
While others argued that the multiverse is a philosophical rather than a scientific hypothesis because it can not be empirically falsified.
An other group of explain seekers of this weird phenomenon went to consider it as an evidence of time traveling.
Claiming that these changes in history are caused by time travellers.
Then there are claims that these distortions result from spiritual attacks linked to satan, black magic or witchcraft.
But although appealing to many , these theories are not scientifically testable.
Scientifically speaking , psychologists explained the Mandela Effect via memory and social effects particularly False Memory.
But in order to understand what a false memory is we need to know how memory works.
The brain is made up of neurons that store up memory. The physical location of the memory in the brain is often called the Memory Trace.When a memory is stored , it travels from Hippocampus to the Prefrontal Cortex. All related memories are stored in the same proximity. This framework is known as Schema.
Schema's are organized pockets of knowledge that direct memory. In this , schema facilitate understanding of material but can produce distortion.
So when we recall a memory that had been stored , it reactivates the neurons that compose the memory trace , causing them to create new connections and allowing the formation of a new associations.
The process of taking a memory trace a part and putting it back together makes memory vulnerable to lose its fidelity.
Elizabeth F. Loftus- an American cognitive psychologist and expert on human memory - says: “Memory works a bit like a wikipedia page , you can go there and change it , but so can other people.”
She came up with that after decades of studying and experimenting on human memory.
In 1995 Elizabethand her student Jim Coan - who was at the time undergraduate - conducted an experiment as an extra credit on his assignment for his course.
Caon listed his mother sister and brother as the subjects. He assembled booklets containing four short narratives describing childhood events of the subjects. Three of the narratives were true while the fourth one was false. It involved Coan’s brother being lost in the mall and found by an elderly and reunited with his family. Unaware of that fact , the subjects were asked to remember as much details as they can about those four events and write them down over the course of a week.
Unwittingly , Coan’s brother recalled the false event and even added more details.
When he was asked to spot the false narrative he couldn’t and expressed disbelief.
A similar experiment was conducted involving 24 participants , shows that 25% of them recalled the false event but less clear than the true memories.
Loftus suggested that the false memory is being formed as a result of the suggested event being incorporated into already existing memories of going to the mall. With the passage of time , it becomes harder for people to differentiate between what actually happened and what was imagined and they make memory errors.
In short , memory inaccuracies can arise from what is known as a source monitoring errors. These are instances where people fail to distinguish between real and imagined events.
False Memory phenomenon was initially investigated by psychologists pioneers Pierre Janet and Sigmund freud.
Tests shows that even language can affect this phenomenon. Using different verbs or adjectives in the same question can change the subject’s answers.
In 1973 in a study that looks at the different answers on the height of a basketball player , participants were randomly divided into two groups. One of which were asked the question “How short was the player ?” And the other were asked “How tall is the player?”
The difference in height averages predicted by the participants was 10 inches.
The adjectives provided in a sentence can cause a respondent to exaggerate.
Scientists Jason M Watson , Kathleen B Mcdermott and David A Balota did a series of experiments regarding the same phenomenon.
On five study- test trials young and old adults attempted to memorize the same list of 60 words. Half of the participants in each group were given explicit warning about the DRM paradigm prior to encoding and were asked to attempt to avoid recalling any associated but nonrepresented words.
Lists were presented auditory at either fast or slow rate.
Without a warning the probability of veridical recall across trials increased for both age groups. However the probability of false recall across trials decreased only for young adults.
When a warning about false recall was provided , young adults virtually eliminated false recall by the second trials.
Even though old adults also used warnings to reduce false recall on trial 1 , they were still unable to decrease false memories across the remaining four study- test trials. Old adults also reduced false recall more with slow than with fast presentation rates.
Taken together , these findings suggest that old adults have a breakdown in spontaneous , self- initiated source monitoring as reflected by little change in false recall across study- test trials but a preserved ability to use experimenter provided warnings or slow presentation rates to reduce false memories.
The previous test trials demonstrates how learning a list of words that contains closely related items such as bed and pillow produces false recognition of related but non presented words such as sleep.
British psychologist and the first professor of experimental psychology at the university of Cambridge Frederic Bartlett , read the Canadian - indian folktale ‘War of the Ghosts’ to participants in a study. He founds that listeners omitted unfamiliar details and transformed information to make it more understandable.
This process is called Effort After Meaning and occurs in real world situations too.
Other primary factors of the Mandela Effect is Confabulation and Suggestibility.
Confabulation is the brain attempt to fill the missing memory gaps by adding fabricated facts and experiences.
Unlike lying its not intended to deceive and the person confabulating fully remembers that the details are real.
Suggestibility: is the attendency to believe that what others suggests is true.
But apparently , this phenomenon has a bright side and some potential benefits.
Psychologist and professor of human development and expert on false memory and risky decision making , Valerie F Reyna explains that her findings regarding false memory indicates that reliance on prior knowledge from gist memory cab help individuals make safer well informed choices in terms of risk taking.
Other positive traits associated with false memory processes heightened creativity and prime solution for insight based problems.
All of these things indicate that false memories are adaptive and functional false memories tied to familiar concepts can also potentially aid in future problem solving in a related topic , especially when related to survival.
In this way , the majority of Mandela Effect are attributable to memory errors and social misinformation. The fact that a lot of the inaccuracies are trivial , suggests they result from selective attention or faulty inference.
But this is not to say that the Mandela Effectis not explicable in terms of the Multiverse. Indeed the notion of parallel universes is consistent with the work of Quantum Physics.But until the existence of alternative realities is established , psychological theories appear much more plausible.