The Frequency Illusion

The illusion in which a word, a name, or other thing that has recently come to one’s attention suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards (not to be confused with the recency illusion or selection bias).
~ Wikipedia

The frequency illusion or more commonly known as the Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon is a cognitive bias which makes you notice words,phrases or anything (generally words.) after you read about it.

It’s that feeling which you get after learning about a new word which you then suddenly see every where after that. When you learnt what bias meant and suddenly you see it being used everywhere.

Yep, that’s right. Another one of those psychological illusions motivated by cognitive bias.

Click here to see the image source.

Whenever you learn a new word your subconscious starts to be hyper-aware (I use the term loosely) of it. This instates a sense of surprise and awe in you about how you’re suddenly noticing it.

Now you’re constantly aware of this, when you see the pattern continue, you think that something definitely is up. That’s Confirmation Bias. You’re actively looking for data you want to see.

This makes you think, you notice random patterns of words because of this bias, how many do you miss due to the lack thereof?


Originally published at the-educational-blog.quora.com.


Hey guys, this is Adit Seth, I usually write on Quora but I joined Medium mostly to write about;

  • Deconstruction and analysis of art and cinematography (like Nerdwriter)
  • Science (like this but including physics too.
  • Philosophy
  • Pseudo-science and Skepticism

and a lot more!

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