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In the News

The Mandela Effect

Lara Calus

23rd February 2024

What if I told you your mind is capable of creating false memories and lies?

Collective false memories pose a gap in research and theories to explain this phenomenon. One could even explain this as a ‘glitch in the matrix’.

The Mandela effect is a collective false memory belief. A famous example of this is the apparent death of Nelson Mandela in prison, believed and recollected by many. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Mandela went on, after being incarcerated, to lead a long and fruitful life. He became president and eventually passed away at the age of 95.

The theory behind these false individual recollections is known as the ‘Self Memory System’. These are memories based on our past but are also affected by our imagining future events, which means a reconstructive process occurs by which our memory is filled with recent memories and a simulation of things that may happen soon.

When it comes to collective false memories like the Nelson Mandela example, research is speculative due to the knowledge gap. A mix of a ‘glitch in the matrix’, simulation theory, and parallel worlds attempts to grasp this complexity.

Read more on this with the following references:

* The Mandela effect: How do collective false memories work? The mystery of global glitches in memory recording

Lara Calus

Lara is an experienced Psychology lecturer and part of the tutor2u Psychology team.

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