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You have probably heard Fiona Broome’s story regarding the events of Nelson Mandela’s death. I can remember the events following Nelson Mandela’s death on 5th December 2013 after suffering a prolonged respiratory infection. He had served as South Africa’s first president, and he died at the age of 95; this is not how Fiona Broome recalls the events.

According to her, Mandela died in the 1980s in prison. Fiona was a self-identified paranormal consultant. According to her, she could even remember a speech that Mandela’s widow gave following his demise. None of all the events, according to Fiona’s account, took place. 

This was where the name ‘Mandela Effect’ came from. 

What is the Mandela’s Effect?

The Mandela’s Effect is also known as collective false memories. Collective false memories occur when a group of people has a collection of memory that is different from the truth.

The collective memories may be very vivid, but false. Conspiracy theorists have over time used this phenomenon to support claims of the existence of an alternate universe. 

the Mandela Effect

What causes collective false memories?

Why would people strongly believe in memories that don’t even exist? It has been proven that shared false memories exist, for instance, in Fiona Broome’s case; she later discovered that several other people had the same memories as her’s.  Apart from quantum physics, which has been previously used to explain what is happening, neuroscience too explains the phenomenon.

Note that memory is a network of neurons. Memory is a physically stored memory trace or engram in the brain. Also, remember that memory consolidation occurs when the engram is transferred from the hippocampus, which is temporary storage, to permanent sites. 

During the process, the neurons composing the engram are activated and may lead to the formation of new connections. This results in the reconsolidation of the memory. There is, therefore, a possibility of memory losing its consistency. 

Confabulation

Doctors also believe that the Mandela Effect could be a form of confabulation. Confabulation is considered a memory error. In this case, the gaps existing in an individual’s memory are abstractedly filled with distorted or fabricated information. 

If someone is experiencing confabulation, they firmly believe that their memories are real. While the memories are false, the person cannot be considered to be lying. 

There are two types of confabulation. In the case of spontaneous confabulation, the individual tells a fabricated story without being provoked. On the other hand, provoked confabulation is the most common and usually seen with people who have amnesia.

It is believed that most people who have confabulation may have experienced memory loss or amnesia, and they come up with distorted information in attempts to fill the gaps in their memories. 

There are tons of other common cases of the Mandela Effect. A good example is “Looney Tunes” versus “Looney Toons.” While most people may remember the cartoons’ logo as “Looney Toons,” it is actually “Looney Tunes.”

Conclusion

While conspiracy theorists use the Mandela Effect as proof of the existence of a parallel universe, doctors see it as an illustration of the imperfect nature of memory. While it may be challenging to point out false memory, it is more common than you think.

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