Author Archives: aj22

“The Mandela Effect and how your mind is playing tricks on you”

“The Mandela Effect and how your mind is playing tricks on you”

Often times people recall something that they later find out is incorrect. The “Mandela Effect” is used to explain the phenomenon coined soon after Nelson Mandela died. It is described in the article as being “convinced that something is a particular way only to discover you’ve remembered it all wrong”. The article offers both psychological and pseudoscientific explanations for this effect, but those with cognitive influence will be the focus of this post.

The article ( states that many psychologists explain this effect using “memory and social effects-particularly false memories”. These kind of memories occur when you remember details that are inaccurate or made up completely. There is even a model for another way in which false memories can form. This model is called the Deese-Roediger and McDermott paradigm. They say that when learning related words some false recognition of related, but not present words occur. For instance, if the words cat, dog, and bird were learned, false remembrance of the word turtle may occur. The recency (remembering last few items) or the primacy (remembering first few items) may play a part in this as well. Other causes of the “Mandela Effect” according to the article could be incorrect recall and a unique process called “effort after meaning”. Both of these processes are schema (knowledge) based and have heavy influence on memory.

This article discusses many cognitive processes related to how one remembers and how much one remembers. Factors mentioned such as word correlation, timing, and consistency all can play a part in the accuracy of one’s recall and determine if it is correct or incorrect. The conclusion of the article discusses what happens if one continues to remember memories under false pretense, a distorted collective reality. As long as the inaccuracies remain limited and “trivial” no major damage will occur.

One limitation vaguely cited in this article was there consideration of pseudoscientific attribution to the “Mandela Effect”. Though paired with some quantum physics, “the notion of parallel universes” is thought provoking, but audacious. Theories solely based on pseudoscience are often encouraged to pair with other theories of a psychological basis.

In my experience with one example used in the text specifically, the “Mandela Effect” has occured to me. My entire childhood growing up until the very moment I read the article actually, I believe that the Queen in Snow White said, “Mirror, mirror on the wall”, when according to this article she actually said “magic mirror on the wall”. Talk about the shock of my life. I also have had moments when I believed I knew/remembered a detail from a past occurrence of some sort, just to later find out from someone who recalled the instance more accurately than I that what I remembered was either completely or partially incorrect. Both of these experiences have occurred numerous times throughout the span of my life and I strongly believe that they both will continue to occur. Although, I could practice to decrease the probability.

The Effects of Sleep Loss

The Effects of Sleep Loss 

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Many people have or have had trouble falling asleep when it’s time. This is often due to factors such as stress or simply not “feeling” tired. Ever wonder how your quality of sleep affects your performance the next day? Personally, starting a day off without having gotten a good night’s rest has a direct negative relationship with my mood/energy level for majority of the morning.  Others will only experience some fatigue upon initially waking up, an impact of lesser severity when compared.

In this article, Whiteman writes about how staying up all night affects a person’s “working memory”. As defined by the article, working memory is described as our ability to briefly hold information, while simultaneously making a decision. A common example of working memory from the article for anyone with a cell phone is adding a contact to your phone. As you are actively remembering the number, you are also typing the number and/or name into your phone. After being able to recall several times where I as well as others did not get a good night’s rest and felt we suffered for it the next day.

Yet, a study done by Frida Rångtell, a student at the University of Uppsala in Sweden made an interesting discovered that for men there simply is no impact. “Women who lost a night’s sleep, however, showed a reduction in working memory in the tests, though they did not appear to notice this reduction” (Whiteman, Medical News Today). There are two aspects to this distinction between reactions, one of them being the reduction in working memory itself as well as the impact going unnoticed by the female participants in the study. Of the participants included in the study, 6 out of the 12 participants were said to be female (Whiteman, Medical News Today).  Understandably so, this result did come as a concern to Rångtell, as “ “working memory is central in cognitive functioning and key to perform[ing] efficiently and effectively in academic, professional, and social settings,” they [Rångtell and colleagues] write in their paper. Thus, we often multitask (a byproduct of working memory) in our daily lives and this function is essential to being able to complete  multiple tasks during our day. Rångtell cautions women to be extra careful when running off low sleep and performing their daily activities.

A limitation cited in the article notes that the researchers are not sure whether or not the effect of working memory lasts soley during the morning hours or throughout the entire duration of the day, since they only tested the 6 women during the morning hours. In addition to this limitation, she also writes that sleep deprivation may affect others areas that vary by sex, but since the focus of this study was sleep deprivation on cognitive functioning they are again  unsure.

In my experience, not getting enough sleep definitely affects my energy, willingness/desire to complete both simple and complex tasks, as well as performance. Prior to the knowledge gained from this article I had no idea of the correlation between my experience and my gender. Though, without the knowledge of the strength of the correlation I will remain unsure if this is a prime example of why I can recall most girls in my elementary class being very calm and quiet in the morning as compared to the boys high energy levels and inability to contain themselves. Regardless, the articles results were both interesting and informative.