The Mandela Effect Is When Groups Have The Same False Memories

Do you remember watching news broadcasts in the early 1980s that Nelson Mandela had died in prison? Many people do. The problem with that memory is that it never happened; Mandela died in 2013. The phenomenon of a vivid, collective false memory is called the Mandela Effect.

The Berenstain Bears


Many people believe this effect is also at play regarding the collective misremembering of the classic children's book characters the "Berenstain Bears" — an entire generation seems to remember them as the "Berenstein Bears" (spelled without an "A.") The cause of this effect is unknown, but one factor may be that people consider their memories to be more reliable than they actually are.

Consider that every time you remember a memory, you're rewriting that memory. Over time, a single memory gets rewritten many, many times. However, some conspiracy theorists have a different, more paranormal explanation. These theorists believe that people are picking up memories from different timelines, or alternate universes. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.

If you'd like to learn more about The Mandela Effect, check out "The Mandela Effect: Everything is changing" by Stasha Eriksen. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Berenstein or Berenstain? The Mandela Effect

Why do groups collectively remember things that didn't happen?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Mandela Effect is the phenomenon of a vivid, collective misremembering of events in history. 01:12

  2. Some conspiracy theorists believe the Mandela Effect is proof of people acquiring memories from different timelines, proving there is a multiverse. 01:54

  3. Proteins cause your brain to form new synaptic connections between neurons that form memories. 02:31

Written by Curiosity Staff August 1, 2016

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