The misinformation effect is a famous experiment highlighting a memory phenomenon that can introduce false memories. Another internet theory is that these false memories are actually a result of an internet craze called 'The Mandela Effect' suggesting it is actually the result of parallel universe. Whether you believe it is false memories or a parallel universe, prepare to have everything you believe in shattered while I blow your mind with some crazy Mandela Effect examples!
Have you ever told someone a story and then later down the track they tell you the story claiming it happened to them and they truly believe it happened to them? This is what is called a false memory and highlighted as a part of the misinformation effect.
At her 44th birthday party, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus had discussion with her uncle about the death of her mother. He told Elizabeth that it was her that had found her mother drowned in a swimming pool. She didn't really remember much about the incident, however over the next few days, all of the memories came flooding back. However she was about to learn that the memories that came back to her, were actually not real. She later discovered that it was her Aunt that had discovered her mother's body. A simple comment from her Uncle on an event she had little recollection of triggered these false memories. When you think about it, it is another form of how powerful the power of suggestion can really be. Following on from this she has done extensive studies on memories and written many publications.
Elizabeth is most well known for her experiment called 'The misinformation effect'. This experiment set out to prove that the type of questions a person is asked after an incident could actually influence the way they remember the details of the event. In this experiment, participants were shown the footage of a car collision. The subjects were then asked a series of questions similar to the type of questions you would be asked by an emergency services worker after being in an accident. One of the key questions asked was 'How fast were the cars going when they hit each other?'. Some of the participants were asked this question, while other participants were asked 'How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?'. A very subtle difference but it is making a subtle suggestion to your brain without you knowing it. From the study, the researchers found that by changing the word hit with the word smash, the participants remembered the footage they had seen differently. The were questioned again a week after being shown the footage. They were asked 'Did you see broken glass?". Some of the participants answered 'no', however most of the people who had been fed the 'smashed' word a week ago seemed to be more inclined to answer 'yes' even though there was no broken glass in the footage they had been shown. The results proved that the power of suggestion and subtle hints through wording changed the way a person remembered an event.
In 2011, there was an internet sensation started by a paranormal enthusiast by the name of Fiona Broome. She thought that she remembered seeing news coverage of Nelson Mandela's death in the media back in the 1980's. Sharing her thoughts online, a lot of people agreed with her and seemingly had the same memory. There was only one problem with this claim. He was still very much alive at this time and did not pass away until 2013. When this was brought to her attention, her theory was that because others remember the events the same way she did or as a 'shared memory' that it must be the result of a parallel universes. Here are some examples that avid Mandela effect advocate use to back up their case!
The biggest proof for Mandela Effect supporters is the whole Darth Vader saga. I am not a Star Wars fan, but even I know the whole 'Luke, I am your father' line. But wait, that is not what actually happened in the actual movie! WHAT?? Darth Vader actually says 'No, I am your father'.
Forrest Gump famously said ' Life IS like a box of chocolates ...' except he actually said 'Life WAS like a box of chocolates'!
My favorite TV show is actually called 'Sex AND the City' not 'Sex IN the City'. Are we sure about this one? I mean I know this show pretty well, and it has to be 'Sex in the city'.
There was no 90's movie where Sinbad played a Genie. I am pretty sure this is conspiracy theory because I am 99.9% sure there was, there just isn't any proof of it anywhere. Why would my brain remember this if it wasn't true? Sinbad never made any good movies including the genie movie that never existed. It is thought that people are confusing this with the Shaq movie Kazaam.
Mirror Mirror on the wall, I did this many times as a kid, except that is not what the Queen actually said. It is 'Magic Mirror on the wall'. Maybe that is why my mirror never spoke to back to me, I was doing it wrong!
Hannabel Lecter never said 'Hello Clarice'. Watch the movie. Seriously it's not in there, it's just in every parody afterwards.
Interview with A Vampire is actually called Interview with THE Vampire
Ever sing 'We are the Champions .......... of the world!'. Yeh, listen to it again and you will find 'of the world' is missing!
ET really said Home Phone not Phone Home!
Fruit Loops are actually spelt Froot Loops
I could quite literally do this all night because there are so many things out there, it is easy to see why this has become an internet sensation. I really don't know what I believe anymore!!! So am I remembering something from a different universe or is this a perfect case of the misinformation effect discussed above?
There are a few different theories as to why we remember things differently. Apart from the possibility of a parallel universe, it is thought that our memory blends together the actual event and any other information about the event be it true or false. Our brain puts it all together and then remembers a version containing both pieces of information. It is even possibly if the suggestion is strong enough that the false information can completely override the actual event in our memory. From research it is even said that because the misinformation occurs more recently than the actual event, that is what we tend to actually remember. The biggest influences causing this misinformation to happen depend on the amount of time this misinformation is presented since the event, things like news reports, reading false information online would be a massive one (remember just because it is on Facebook or Google doesn't make it true - especially if it is Wikipedia), and the biggest one is probably talking to other people involved in the event. They are probably the biggest influencers here and again that power of suggestion is very very strong. Sadly, a lot of people are easily tricked or manipulated - depending on which way you want to look at it. It is also important to remember, 'just because it is on the internet, doesn't mean it is true!'. This is why I encourage everyone to do your own research.
On a serious level we are very aware that our brains are extremely good at playing tricks on us. Visual and auditory pareidolia are just some of the things the brain can play on for paranormal investigators which I have explored in this very blog. Look at the Ganzfield experiment. We know that sensory deprivation is used essentially as a brain hack, however some believe it opens us up to a paranormal experience. We know our brain can play tricks on us and while some of the world may think we are delusional, some of us continue the search for answers because of the one thing we always rely on. Our gut. When a tough decision is presented and sometimes we are torn between our heart or our head, what is the number one piece of advice you give to someone? Go with your gut. I've said it many times, we are not going to prove anything to anyone and if that is what you are trying to do, you are probably in the wrong business. You should be searching for your own answers.
I personally find this study quite fascinating and parallel universes are something i have discussed on the blog before as well. I personally feel in this circumstance it is our brain playing tricks on us but you just never know!
On a fun note, I want to know what crazy 'Mandela effect' memories you have found out. What blew your mind? Tell me in the comments below!
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