Common Explanations

As a general rule, there is normally an identifiable solution and explanation to most Mandela Effects, or at least theories. These usually relate to key factors and information regarding the subject mixed with a common memory bias or other psychological effect.

This list is by no means exhaustive and may not fit certain examples at all. It’s simply to be used as a guide to why some Mandela Effects exist in the first place failing any hard explanations on a given subject.

NOTE: For theories and explanations on ACTUAL Mandela Effects, please view the postings here.

Misinformation effect

That misinformation affects people’s reports of their own memory. I believe this to be a key factor in many Mandela Effects. Simply seeing the claim from another person may sway recollection of your own memory, especially if you lacked concrete or deep memories or connections to the subject to begin with.

Confirmation bias

The tendency to search for, interpret, or recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses. Those seeking Mandela Effects will often be more easily persuaded by other claims. And with such claims they may agree with, they will often discard any countering evidence or claims.

Misattribution of memory

When information is retained in memory but the source of the memory is forgotten. This is sometimes present in Mandela Effects where we forget where we know something from or why it’s familiar, possibly leading to incorrect attribution of the original source confounding the confusion factor.


A form of misattribution where a memory is mistaken for imagination, because there is no subjective experience of it being a memory. Many Mandela Effects may have started out as imagination rather than real memories.


Facts cannot change; however, they can be revealed to be untrue or nonfactual, thus is the case with many things throughout human history. As science and technologically progresses, so does our understanding of the world around us. Unfortunately for us, our brain is not always built to accept new ideas and new facts. People who either intentionally, or unintentionally (they do not know the new information) can also spread these misconceptions, thus perpetuating these erroneous beliefs into society. This is how misconceptions are born and at the heart of many Mandela Effects.

False memory

A false memory is the psychological phenomenon in which a person recalls a memory that did not actually occur. It’s often cited with and has a strong connotation to some type of trauma such as sexual abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While it would be quite rare for Mandela Effects to originate as false memories, it could fit in those lesser known or less believed ones as the scenario would typically be very specific to the person with the false memory. Because of the trauma involved with these cases, the subject would be quite resistant to accept any new evidence in opposition of their belief as their brain has literally implanted this idea as a counter to protect itself from mental harm, thus introducing cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance not an explanation per se, but rather a by-product. It is one of the main causes for so many people to be so resistant to evidence and ideas contrary to their beliefs and memory. Cognitive dissonance can be the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. Please note the use of “can be” as there is many purists that don’t accept the broader definition and scope of cognitive dissonance applying to memory versus reality.


Confabulation is a disturbance of memory which produces fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about the world, without the explicit or conscious intention to deceive others. People who confabulate in this way produce incorrect memories about the most trivial details (as seen with most Mandela Effects) but range up to more complex fabrications as well. They are generally extremely confident in their recollections and will typically resist any contradictory evidence (possibly related to cognitive dissonance in this manner).


220 thoughts on “Common Explanations

  1. Some mainstream Mandela effects I can see others not but the ones that even made me aware of such a thing were my own experiences.

    1) A road in the village where I live has been renamed but according to the internet and most of the village population it has always been the current name. A guy who works in the shop who grew up on that road and lived there 18 years confirms the name I remember plus the old name remains on Strava.

    2) A couple of songs on my MP3 have changed, the versions I remember are nowhere to be found.

    3) For me the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford tunnel didn’t exist until at least the mid 2000’s yet it has been in service since 1991. I remember specifically travelling to and from Brands Hatch in 2002 to watch some car racing including formula ford 1600’s and there being no bridge so had to use the tunnel both ways. A friend who used to go that way a lot also remembers it the same as me.

    4) One of my friends who I hung around with a lot from 1996 – 1998 is now running a Kickboxing club and was at his peak during those years. I met him by chance again this year and am now an assistant instructor at his club as I have trained martial arts for years myself. Back in the 90’s I don’t remember him ever once mentioning kickboxing, his life was working lots of hours at a pub / restaurant then drinking lots, smoking pot and riding motorcycles. A mutual friend of ours remembers history the same as me. Also one or two of the places he claims to have trained at I also did briefly yet I never saw him there.

    5) I recently started training again at a fairly high level club as I need to improve myself. The instructor remembered me from 2012 when I was there before but doesn’t remember anyone else who used to be there. The club is laid out totally different (maybe not Mandela to be fair) but everyone who was there previously is no longer.

    6) My eyes have a black ring around the iris, 100% it wasn’t there before.

    Maybe I’ve entered the Twilight Zone…..

  2. For Queen’s “We are the Champions”, the ending is a simple explanation.

    The original recording was “We are the champions” at the end. In almost every recording of *live* shows since then, Freddie sang “We are the champions… of the world!” I lived with a huge Queen fan. He had CDs and videos coming out his ears. He could play the songs on his guitar. He played Queen all. the. damn. time. I *only* ever heard “We are the champions… of the world” because he *only* played live recordings. He never played the original album.

    I have a personal ME though, lol. My husband and I lived in a small 2br townhouse before we bought our house and had kids. If you are looking at a top-down view of the apartment and there are N, S, W, E directional walls- I remember 2 ugly floral chairs being at the S wall position, the tv being at the N wall position, and the coffee table in the middle. When we moved, we left the chairs (we were renting and the owner wasn’t paying the mortgage and it was foreclosed on).

    He doesn’t remember the chairs- at all- and he remembers the tv being on the E wall, a futon on the W wall, and the coffee table in the middle. He *did* have a futon in that room before I moved in- and it was on the W wall, but the tv was never on the E wall, it had always been on the N wall from the first day I walked in. We eventually got rid of the futon, maybe 2-3 months after I moved in. So where does he think we sat to watch tv? Like, whaaa? But we didn’t have smartphones back then so we didn’t take many pictures around the house.

    I do remember taking a photo of the cat we first adopted sleeping in one of those ugly floral chairs, but I haven’t found it… yet.

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