Mandela Effect: Why False Memories Happen?

When many falsely attribute an event to have occurred, this phenomenon is known as the Mandela effect. Fiona Broome, who had a strong impression that Nelson Mandela had passed away in prison in the 1980s despite his continued survival until 2013, named this phenomenon “Mandela Effect”. It wasn’t long before she learned that, oddly enough, many people shared her assumption that he had been deceased for years. The Mandela effect can be seen frequently in media nowadays. The causes and mechanisms of such erroneous recall will be discussed in this article.

How is it that so many individuals can get it wrong? 

This phenomenon can be explained by cognitive psychology. The psychological phenomenon known as false memory is largely responsible for the Mandela Effect. That occurs when we incorrectly recall past events or alter our memory of past experiences in some way. ExpressVPN reveals that these false recollections might feel genuine and realistic in one’s mind, yet they are completely erroneous. But why do erroneous recollections occur? Several explanations come to mind, among which are the following:

False information and hints

Misinformation or persuasion may be the cause of misleading recollections. People may come to accept a falsehood, such as the imprisonment death of Nelson Mandela if it is told to them often enough. Similarly, if a person is shown a photograph that has been altered somehow, they are more likely to recall the altered version of the picture than the authentic one.

Effectiveness of suggestion

When trying to remember anything, the power of suggestion can also be useful. One’s recollection of an incident may be questioned if another person recalls it differently and gives their version of events with sufficient conviction.


The cognitive process of interference can also explain the Mandela Effect. Numerous investigations have demonstrated that interference between memories is a constant problem in the human mind. They are vulnerable to interference from our past and newly acquired knowledge. After this, erroneous recollections are formed due to interference from the newly acquired information or other previously stored memories. Many people worldwide may have erroneously recalled that Nelson Mandela had passed away due to the influence of a certain phenomenon, which may explain why this occurred.

The reconstruction and distortion of memories

Memory distortion and reconstruction can also account for misleading memories. Like a videotape, the past cannot be relived in its exact form. Instead, each time we recall an experience, it must be reconstructed from scratch, which can lead to inaccuracies and distortions. A person may recall childhood incidents, such as falling from a swing and scraping their knee. It is possible that, as time passes, the person’s memory of the fall will get distorted, leading them to recall it as far more traumatic or painful than it actually was.

Misremembering as a whole

The Mandela effect can also be considered “collective false memories.” When a significant number of people consistently use an incorrect interpretation of a saying or memory, we call this “groupthink.”

The Mandela effect is often cited by believers in parallel universe theories. On the other hand, memory is explained in a very different way by medical professionals. Despite being vivid, they have different theories on how some memories might be fabricated.

Encouragement from peers

Lastly, positive social reinforcement can sometimes cause a faulty recall. It is possible to feel pressured into accepting a consensus recall of events or facts even if it contradicts one’s recollection if a sizable portion of the population has a different view. That is often the case when the person recalling the incident or truth is unsure about their memory or doubts the accuracy of their recollection.

Memory implantation

When people are given erroneous information, they may build false memories. Some research has linked this phenomenon to receiving misleading information and boosting one’s imagination. Memory implantation is the process by which your brain is tricked into believing that an event never occurred in the way someone else claims to recall it did.


In sum, the Mandela Effect is an exciting and puzzling phenomenon that has piqued the interest of many. There are numerous hypotheses to explain false memories, but nobody knows what triggers the Mandela Effect. Misremembering things does not always indicate a memory problem. Emotion, focus, and environment are just a few aspects that might shape our memories. Under the correct conditions, even persons with normally functioning memory can have false memories. Researchers may be able to throw more light on this perplexing and baffling occurrence if they focus on the process by which memory operates and the elements that can influence it.

Leave a comment