It’s all in your head!
At least that’s what many firmly believe the Effect is anyway.
For whatever reason, false memory seems to be the mainstream definition of the Effect. However, I have to admit that this theory does seem to explain a lot of the reported “changes.” Double however however, I don’t think it can explain them all.
When you first start looking for answers about the Effect, one of the first pages you’ll come to is the Wiki page that immediately defines it as False Memory. But then the page goes into citing experiments and using examples that, in my opinion, couldn’t possibly be related to the Effect.
In fact, the first 1/4th of the page talks about adverbs and how asking a question a certain way or omitting specific words can alter the person’s answer and memory.
Fair enough… but not related to the Effect at all.
If everyone is simply remembering these things incorrectly, why aren’t there are a lot more instances of it? Shouldn’t there be groups that remember Ford was always Feord? Arby’s was Ardy’s?
Why hasn’t Rice Krispies switch to Crispies and back?
That’s my issue with the whole false memory claim. If I grow up in Texas with southern Baptist parents and a woman grows up in Utah with Mormon upbringing there is no way in hell we should both “misremember” Stouffer’s Stove Top Stuffing. A neighbor of mine? Sure? But hundreds of people around the country with varying factors influencing their lives and memories?
I call BS.
Making Shit Up With Confabulation
Let’s look at “confabulation,” a word that many skeptics love to throw up. It was coined only 120 years ago by German psychiatrist Karl Bonhoeffer and he used it to describe false answers, or ones that sound completely made up or fantastical, but it goes much deeper than that.
It’s not simply making up answers. Confabulation isn’t a disorder itself, it’s a symptom of various underlying memory disorders in which any gaps in memory are filled in with false information. The powers that be are still working to define confabulation but the gist of it is this — those suffering from confabulation have memory loss that actually affects their higher reasoning. Meaning that subconsciously they create these false memories as a way to conceal their memory loss and they aren’t even aware that they’re not telling the truth. In fact, they’re 100% convinced that what they’re saying is the unequivocal truth, no matter what those around them may say to the contrary.
Okay, I admit that this does sound a bit like those of us that have experienced the Effect, but let’s take a look at what they speculate causes confabulation. According to Healthline, conditions that can cause this symptom are:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Split-brain syndrome
- Anosognosia – a deficit of self-awareness
And then there’s a couple of harsh sounding syndromes like Anton’s syndrome (the denial of blindness), Capgras syndrome (the belief that a loved one has been replaced by an imposter – talk about a glitch in the Matrix), and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, aka WKS, and exaggerated storytelling with this syndrome is believed to be caused by chronic alcohol misuse.
So, that mean’s everyone that has experienced the Effect has one of the above undiagnosed brain issues?
Even if we take traumatic head injuries out of the equation and just look at the “filling in the blanks” aspect of confabulation, it doesn’t add up with the Effect.
Millions of minds just added in a cornucopia for Fruit of the Loom because it didn’t make sense for fruit to be on our underwear without something we didn’t even know the name of?
We all just added braces to Dolly in Moonraker because we just think we’re better writers than those that churned out the screenplay?
I’ll concede the fact that some celebrity multiple deaths could be attributed to some sort of minor confabulation. We don’t see them in the news for quite some time and we “assume” they’re dead, maybe even confusing them for the death of someone near their age or even from the same show. But I don’t think that can be used for them all, especially the likes of Billy Graham.
When you get to the portion of the False Memory Wiki article that actually discusses the Effect, it simply uses its own definition of confabulation to try to explain the non-existent Shazaam movie.
“The false memories of Shazaam have been explained as a confabulation of memories of the comedian (Sinbad) wearing a genie-like costume during a TV presentation of Sinbad the Sailor movies in 1994, and a similarly named 1996 film, Kazaam, featuring a genie played by Shaquille O’Neal.”
Ahhhh… so we ALL saw some show of him wearing a genie outfit and not only placed him in a movie as a genie, but ALL of our minds named it with the same unique spelling.
Wow! Amazing innit?
In other words, this definition of confabulation is that we somehow take two things, mesh em together, and then conveniently fill in the blanks.
All with the exact same details though.
Yeah, that sounds plausible. (insert eye-roll here)
The Blunt Made You Do It
I’m adding this section because according to a report from the (deep breath) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (whew) on Feb 10 2020 they state that just one joint can cause false memory.
These guys went all 21st century and used virtual reality to really mess with the stoned participants, I mean have a good experiment, and it looks like that actually had some interesting results.
They implemented a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in order to examine “the susceptibility to false memories under the influence of cannabis, using a basic (DRM) and two applied (misinformation) paradigms.”
You can read the whole study at the link above, but they state that they found “that cannabis consistently increases susceptibility to false memories.”
So, has every Effect witness partaken in a little inhalation of some wacky tobacky?
However, even if we suspend disbelief and say they’ve all toked up at least once, would that explain how they all came up with the exact same false memory?
Playing With Your Memory
Nearly every Effected person I’ve spoken with will readily admit that the human memory is indeed malleable. They know about the experiments on children and their susceptibility to memory implantation, false memory syndrome / recovered memories , as well as “source misattribution.”
In short… the human brain is still a rather large mystery, and memories, how they’re formed, retrieved and what can affect them, are still under heavy review. But the fact remains, our memories can indeed be altered.
But what dominos would have to fall into place exactly right for so many people from varying parts of the country/world, to have their memories altered the exact same way?
Is it possible? Certainly. Whether it’s a matter of the same exact commercials running back to back in every market or other unknown influencers on our memory formations, it is “possible.”
The one thing that I always suggest to every Effected person I come across is to approach any new change with a skeptical eye. Think before you leap, so to speak.
For example, while my brother and I both vividly remember Jiffy peanut butter, we’ve both admitted that it’s very possible, and likely probable, that we mixed it with Skippy, Jiffy Pop popcorn, and Jiffy cornbread.
Now of course that’s OUR realization for OUR experience. I’m not saying that’s why you remember Jiffy. I just don’t have a strong enough “anchor memory” to this one to say that it’s a solid ME for me.
“Objects in mirror may be closer,” and the missing cornucopia are completely different stories.
For skeptics, as opposed to shutting it down as an all encompassing false memory, I invite you to do a bit more reading. In the next couple of installments, we’re going to look at the very real possibility that our understanding of physics and the world around us may be drastically changed in the very near future.
Part 3 of this investigation will be forthcoming soon.. watch GeekInsider.com or this page to catch it.