Frequency illusion

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Frequency illusion, also known as the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon, is the feeling that once something has been noticed then every instance of that thing is noticed, leading to the belief it has a high frequency of occurrence (a form of selection bias).[1][2] [3] It was named after an incidence of frequency illusion in which the Baader–Meinhof Group was mentioned.[4]

The Baader–Meinhof phenomenon was originally noticed by a Terry Mullen, who in 1994 wrote a letter to a newspaper column in which he mentioned that he had first heard of the Baader–Meinhof Group, and shortly thereafter coincidentally came across the term from another source. After the story was published, readers continued to submit their own experiences of similar events, and the phenomenon was named the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon.[citation needed]

The term "frequency illusion" was coined in 2006 by Arnold Zwicky, a professor of linguistics at Stanford University and the Ohio State University. Simply put, it means "once found, it's everywhere".[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zwicky A (2005-08-07). "Just Between Dr. Language and I". Language Log.
  2. ^ "The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon". Damn Interesting. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  3. ^ "What's the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon?". 20 March 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  4. ^ "The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? Or: The Joy Of Juxtaposition?". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved October 20, 2020. As you might guess, the phenomenon is named after an incident in which I was talking to a friend about the Baader-Meinhof gang (and this was many years after they were in the news). The next day, my friend phoned me and referred me to an article in that day’s newspaper in which the Baader-Meinhof gang was mentioned.