Hey everyone! Are you sure you remember everything correctly? Or maybe your memory is deceiving you? Check it out in our quiz. Answer twenty questions and see for yourself! Have you ever heard of the Mandela Effect? Read on to find out more.
In psychology, false memory is a phenomenon where someone recalls something that did not happen or recalls it differently from the way it actually happened. Suggestibility, activation of associated information, the incorporation of misinformation, and source misattribution have been suggested to be several mechanisms underlying a variety of types of false memory.
The strength hypothesis states that in strong situations (situations where one course of action is encouraged more than any other course of action due to the objective payoff) people are expected to demonstrate rational behavior, basing their behavior on the objective payoff.
An example of this is the laws of a country. Most of its citizens, no matter how daring, will conform to these laws, because the objective payoff is personal safety.
The construction hypothesis says that if a true piece of information being provided can alter a respondent’s answer, then so can a false piece of information.
The construction hypothesis has major implications for explanations of the malleability of memory. Upon asking a respondent a question that provides a presupposition, the respondent will provide a recall by the presupposition (if accepted to exist in the first place). The respondent will recall the object or detail.
Loftus developed what some refer to as “the skeleton theory” after having run an experiment involving 150 subjects from the University of Washington. Loftus noticed that when a presupposition was one of false information it could only be explained by the construction hypothesis and not the strength hypothesis. Loftus then stated that a theory needed to be created for complex visual experiences where the construction hypothesis plays a significantly more important role than situational strength. She presented a diagram as a “skeleton” of this theory, which later became referred to by some as the skeleton theory.
The skeleton theory explains the procedure of how memory is recalled, which is split into two categories: the acquisition processes and the retrieval processes.
The acquisition processes are in three separate steps. First, upon the original encounter, the observer selects a stimulus to focus on. The information that the observer can focus on compared to all of the information occurring in the situation as a whole, is very limited. In other words, a lot is going on around us and we only pick up on a small portion. This forces the observer to begin by selecting a focal point for focus. Second, our visual perception must be translated into statements and descriptions. The statements represent a collection of concepts and objects; they are the link between the event occurrence and the recall. Third, the perceptions are subject to any “external” information being provided before or after the interpretation. This subsequent set of information can reconstruct the memory.
The retrieval processes come in two steps. First, the memory and imagery are regenerated. This perception is subject to what foci the observer has selected, along with the information provided before or after the observation. Second, the linking is initiated by a statement response, “painting a picture” to make sense of what was observed. This retrieval process results in either an accurate memory or a false memory.
False memories can sometimes be shared by multiple people. This phenomenon was dubbed the “Mandela Effect” by paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, who reported having vivid and detailed memories of news coverage of South African anti-Apartheid leader Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s. (Mandela actually died in 2013, after serving as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.) Broome reported that since 2010 “perhaps thousands” of other people had written online about having the same memory of Mandela’s death, and she speculated that the phenomenon could be evidence of parallel realities.
One well-documented example of shared false memories comes from a 2010 study that examined people familiar with the clock at Bologna Centrale railway station, which was damaged in the Bologna massacre bombing in August 1980. In the study, 92% of respondents falsely remembered the clock had remained stopped since the bombing when, in fact, the clock was repaired shortly after the attack. Years later the clock was again stopped and set to the time of the bombing, in observance and commemoration of the bombing.
Other examples include memories of the title of the Berenstain Bears children’s books being spelled Berenstein, the logo of clothing brand Fruit of the Loom featuring a cornucopia, and the existence of a 1990s movie titled Shazaam starring comedian Sinbad as a genie. The false memories of Shazaam have been explained as a confabulation of real memories, possibly including the comedian wearing a genie-like costume during a TV marathon of Sinbad the Sailor movies in 1994, the 1996 film Kazaam featuring a genie played by basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, and a late 1960s animated series about a genie called Shazzan. Likewise, false memories of Mandela’s death could be explained as the subject confabulating him with Steve Biko, another prominent South African anti-apartheid activist who died in prison in 1977.
Scientists suggest that these are examples of false memories shaped by similar cognitive factors affecting multiple people and families, such as social and cognitive reinforcement of incorrect memories or false news reports and misleading photographs that influence the formation of memories based on them.
Can you pinpoint which memory is real and which is not? Have you been deceived by your mind? Answer twenty questions and see for yourself!
How many questions are there?
There are 20 questions.
What can you get as a result?
You can get maximum of 20 points and 1 of 4 different results compliant with the level of your knowledge.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?