If you’ve ever sworn to the accuracy of something, only later to realize you were wrong, you’ve experienced the Mandela Effect. This effect is experienced, sometimes by a collective of people, often as misremembering events until a more empirical assessment is found.
It can start as a rumor, an uncertainty, or a flat-out lie. There are many examples of such cases of collective misremembering. One example is the Bernstein Bears franchise conspiracy. Actually, this one isn’t a great example because it’s still unclear as to the truth. The gist is this: many people remember the spelling as Berenstain Bears while many others remember it as Bernstein Bears. Even while writing this; Grammarly believes it to be one way and Google’s autocorrect believes it to be another!
Theories for these kinds of phenomena range from time travelers to parallel universes. These types of theories often catch traction among the non-scientific community because they are, in most cases, not able to be tested scientifically. After all, if you can’t prove something to be wrong it might be right? Right?
Scientific Fact Checking
The human mind is a mystery in many cases. Science still can’t explain consciousness and we all pretty much agree that’s a thing. When it comes to misremembering, sharing of misremembered events, or other mind games, there’s no science more focused on finding answers than Psychology.
One example is the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm which describes phantom words being remembered alongside similar words. An example would be falsely remembering the word baked potatoe on a list of other foods such as steak, green beans, ham, sweet peas, bread, gravy, and asparagas.
There are several other principles within the field of Psychology that help to explain events of misremembered memories. Source monitoring errors, a.k.a. memory inaccuracy describes how people sometimes fail to distinguish between actual events and falsely-reported events. For example, family members have been noted to add additional details to fake stories provided by another family member, as if they remembered the false event.
Our minds are mysterious landscapes and are susceptible to many ranges of perceptual influence.
The scientific basis for misremembered events, as characterized by the Mandela Effect, are usually seeded in theories of brain ‘glitches.’ In other words; theories of parallel universes are much less likely than theories of evolutionary quirks in our brains.
Humans are influenced greatly by collective and popular opinion. Mis-reported news stories, fabricated press releases, and governmental whitewashing of some topics are all the seeds of deception in this way.
You should hear a mental alarm anytime you hear stories or opinions that sound polarized, extreme, or otherwise sensational. The real world is full of blurred lines, improvable motivations, and poor documentation of events. A single camera angle can portray an event in an entirely different manner.
The Mandela Effect can lead to tragic and reprehensible events. Many have been falsely convicted of crimes for mistakes of such simple means. Nonetheless, when silly mistakes combine with rigid institutions there are rarely favorable outcomes. Keep an eye out for situations that might lead to misremembrance and shameful outcomes.