As the bell announcing the end of the period resonated in the school building, Sam realized the sigh of relief that usually accompanied the sound was missing. Instead, he felt a restlessness within, and he convinced himself that the right quote was “Mirror Mirror on the wall.” and not “Magic Mirror on the wall…” as the teacher had quoted bemused.
Sure that the teacher read it wrong. And as expected of him, being one of the brightest in the grade, he did nothing wrong in pointing out the error. But the devilish grin on the teacher’s face confused him.
He remembered the quote from the fairy tale, the cartoon show, and had heard it more than a few times, uttered by his siblings and friends. As he lurched forward into the stream of students in the hallway, he made a mental note to check it up.
Well, Sam was in for a surprise! And if you, too, are convinced that the right quote is “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest among them all,” you have just experienced the Mandela Effect.
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Mandela Effect on Carson:
Like Sam, we all have vivid recollections of events and experiences and are convinced happened in the past, but which in reality didn’t. One might generalize this as faulty memory and get over it.
Others might hold on to it with steely resolve, convinced that it occurred, until someone party to the happening or substantial evidence proves otherwise.
What’s more intriguing about this phenomenon is that it can be collective. Thanks to its collective nature, the sensation was coined as the Mandela Effect in the year 2010.
More recently, it hogged the limelight when Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, United States, proclaimed that he had turned down a full scholarship offer to United States Military Academy, West Point.
The media refuted his claims, which he vehemently defended. The fact that there were no records of any application submitted by Carson and that no cadet has to pay any tuition fee or charges at the Military Academy, might be enough to leave Carson as confused and restless as Sam.
However, Carson’s has gone on print in his recently published book and has repeated the story many times in his speeches. While many of his followers support the story and Carson’s rebuttal generalizing the ‘full scholarship’ bit, many psychologists attribute his steely resolve to be rooted during his stint at the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).
Besides, he could get the required recommendations and a free berth at the USMA, during that period.
Whatever might have prompted the utterance of the false proclamation is unknown, but the stronghold of the Mandela Effect on Carson is undeniable.
So, What is the Mandela Effect?
Fiona Broome, an independent paranormal consultant, coined the term ‘Mandela Effect’ in 2010. Encouraged by her editor, Fiona Broome published a website highlighting her remembrance of the death of Nelson Mandela inside the prison in the 1980s.
Her recollections included media snippets of the incident and vivid memory of the interview by the widow of Mr Mandela. This opened a flood of posts by netizens who had similar remembrances of the death.
Some of the respondents even claimed riots were breaking out in some places as a result of the death in prison. The collective misremembering of an event that didn’t occur is called the Mandela effect.
Mandela Effect Without and with Science
In a bid to explain this collective misremembering, Broome, base her explanation in the pseudoscientific theory. That is the existence of alternative objects and events within universes. She opines that any movement between the worlds or realities results in differences.
However, other followers of these theories consider time travellers, black magic, and witchcraft, to cause the misremembering. Despite the absurdities and absence of any factual explanation, these theories have many takers.
‘Mandela Effect,’ despite being a recent term, has its roots in false memory. Modern psychologists advancing the studies of Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet on the phenomenon of false consciousness have successfully proven that external factors can easily influence minds and responses based on mental recollections.
The other notable development in the field of neuroscience is the study of ‘schema.’ The schema is the storage of similar information derived from life experiences. The schemas through memory traces or engrams, direct the reception of the life experiences of the individual.
Thus, all similar experiences related to various events are stored together. These are stirred when we try to recall the events. This can well lend a viable explanation as to why people misremembered the death of Nelson Mandela.
Remember Steve Biko? He was also a famous anti-apartheid leader imprisoned during the same period with Nelson Mandela. He was found dead in the year 1977; while in jail.
Mandela Effect and Students
Without a doubt, the Mandela effect can adversely affect the performance of a student. It can hamper productivity and can have a severe impact on learning.
Learning involves four stages:
- Unconscious incompetence: The initial phase of learning where one does not have any idea of the course and required skills.
- Conscious incompetence: The second stage in which the student is aware of the skills required to complete the task but has not acquired them.
- Conscious competence: The student has now acquired the skills required to complete the task. This stage might need some assistance or supervision.
- Unconscious competence: The learner is an expert and is confident of completing the task without any effort or supervision.
If you are wondering where the Mandela effect can kick in, any student can be easy prey in the fourth stage of learning.
Safeguard your memory and boost your productivity during:
- Input: While acquiring knowledge, make sure you can differentiate between what you know and what you think. While the former is effectively remembering, the latter is trying to recollect.
- Output: While answering, be confident of your answers. This comes with practice and involves useful remembering.
The Mandela Effect, as a collective experience of a joint event, is being adequately studied for the betterment of skill development and learning programs. Being aware of the phenomenon can help one to learn better and perform well.