Have you ever noticed something for the first time and then suddenly it’s everywhere?
There are a couple explanations for this.
- You live on the cusp of everything and are the first to notice something (AKA King of the Hipsters)
- You just experienced the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
What is Baader-Meinhof?
It is a frequency illusion, a form of selective attention. Like when you are in the market for a new car and notice a specific make/model. As you drive around for the next week, you will notice all the cars out there of that make/model.
Were those same cars driving around two weeks ago? Probably, but you didn’t notice them then.
As to the origin of the term “Baader-Meinhof”, it isn’t named for the doctor who first published on the phenomenon, but for a German terrorist organization. No, really.
According to Pacific Standard Magazine, “… Baader-Meinhof phenomenon was invented in 1994 by a commenter on the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ online discussion board, who came up with it after hearing the name of the ultra-left-wing German terrorist group twice in 24 hours.”
So now you know. And now that you do know, you are likely to encounter the term “Baader-Meinhof” at least a few more times this week.