Nelson Mandela died in 1980, Darth Vader said “Luke, I am your father”, the peanut butter brand is Jiffy, the book series is the Berenstein Bears. These are all false statements, but to many that’s an almost unbelievable fact. In reality Nelson Mandela died in 2013, Darth Vader said “No, I am your father”, the peanut butter brand is Jif, and the book series is the Berenstain Bears.
How could this be? It’s not just small groups of friends who have these misconceptions, it’s thousands or millions of people online. This is the Mandela Effect. For the initial proponents of the theory it was a grand conspiracy. This is actually the multiverse breaking, the government is changing people’s memories, something crazy is happening. In reality, it’s just human psychology.
Memory is meant to serve as a reflection of the past reality one has experienced, although it rarely does it well, and even more rarely does it perfectly. People are susceptible to manipulation, particularly in relation to their memory.
Memory can change to fit a group’s narrative or theories one believes, it can change as the initial source is lost and a different source is substituted, it can change as false memories are instilled, and it can change as it is primed to do so. The reality behind the Mandela Effect is not as interesting as it may have been initially thought to be. Although it says a lot about the psychology of the modern era and how information spreads.
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