The Frequency Illusion When the Unseen Becomes Unavoidable

The Frequency Illusion: “When the Unseen Becomes Unavoidable”


Have you ever taken note that once you learn about something modern, you abruptly begin seeing it all over? Whether it’s a word, a melody, a car demonstration, or indeed a design slant, it’s just like the universe plans to create beyond any doubt you experience it over and over. This wonder is known as the “recurrence figment,” and it’s a captivating perspective of human cognition that can offer bits of knowledge into how our brains prepare data.

What Is the Frequency Illusion?

The Frequency Illusion: “When the Unseen Becomes Unavoidable”

The frequency illusion, also called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, is a cognitive bias that tricks our brains into thinking that something we’ve just learned or noticed is suddenly appearing everywhere around us. It’s as if our brain has turned up the volume on this newfound information, making us believe that it’s become much more common than it is.

This can be moreover called the ‘Bader-Manhoff Phenomenon’ and is related to memory.

The Baader-Manhof Group was another name for the Red Army Faction (RAF), a German terrorist organization active in the 1970s, consisting of the names of two central leaders.

The name ‘Bader-Manhoff Phenomenon’ began to be used in 1994 when a German forum user described how he was drawn to the group after hearing the group’s name, after which other forum users related the phenomenon.

Described his encounters which gave him acknowledgment and inevitably got to be celebrated by this title. But this was not an unused wonder. It has continuously been related to how our brain works in each of us independently.

How Does It Work?

The Frequency Illusion: “When the Unseen Becomes Unavoidable”

The frequency illusion can be broken down into a few simple steps:

Initial Exposure: It all begins with your first encounter with something new or unfamiliar. This could be a new word, a concept, a product, or even a rare bird species.

Selective Attention: After your initial exposure, your brain starts paying more attention to that specific thing. It’s as if a spotlight is shining on it in your mind.

Affirmation Predisposition: Once your brain is on tall alarm for this modern data, you start to take note of it more regularly in your environment. You might see it in a book you’re perusing, a discussion you’re having, or indeed on an announcement.

Support: The more you take note of this modern data, the more you accept it’s all over, fortifying your discernment.

“Preference isn’t continuously an awful thing,” she includes. Now and then biases offer assistance in adjustment and survival. It does not have negative impacts unless it is related to traumatic occasions such as encountering an activity mischance. Be that as it may, concurring to specialists, indeed in this case, it may have emerged as another indication of post-traumatic stretch clutter. But this way he will not confront any issues or issues.

More Examples of the Frequency of Illusion

To help illustrate the frequency illusion, let’s look at a couple of examples:

Car Purchases: Imagine you’re considering buying a specific car model, let’s call it the “XYZ 2000.” Before, you rarely saw this car on the road. However, as soon as you start thinking about buying it, suddenly, it feels like every other car on the road is an XYZ 2000. In reality, there might not be more of them; you’re just more attuned to noticing them.

Vocabulary: Suppose you come across an unusual word like “sesquipedalian” (meaning long-winded or characterized by long words; ironic, right?). Once you learn its meaning, you begin to see it in articles, books, and conversations much more frequently than you did before.

The Role of the Reticular Activating System

The frequency illusion can be partially explained by the way our brain’s reticular activating system (RAS) works. The RAS filters incoming information, deciding what gets our attention and what doesn’t. When something is on our mind, the RAS tends to prioritize it, making it more likely that we’ll notice it in our surroundings.

The Frequency Illusion: “When the Unseen Becomes Unavoidable”


The recurrence figment may be an interesting peculiarity of human discernment. It reminds us of the gigantic sifting and preparing control of our brains. While it might make us feel just like the universe is planning to show us something unused, it’s our claim cognitive forms at work. So, another time you are involved in the Baader-Meinhof marvel, take a minute to appreciate the perplexing workings of your brain and how it continually adjusts to the data you bolster it.

Q: What is the Frequency Illusion, and why is it also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon?

A: The Frequency Illusion, also referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, is a cognitive bias that causes us to notice something we’ve recently learned or encountered appearing more frequently around us. The term “Baader-Meinhof” originated from a German terrorist organization in the 1970s, and it’s used to describe how our brains perceive increased occurrences of newly learned information.

Q: How does the Frequency Illusion work?

A: The Frequency Illusion operates through several stages:

  • Initial Exposure: We encounter something new or unfamiliar.
  • Selective Attention: Our brain begins to focus more on this newly encountered information.
  • Affirmation Predisposition: We start noticing the information more frequently in our surroundings.
  • Support: The increased instances of encountering the information reinforce our perception of its prevalence.
Q: Can the Frequency Illusion have positive effects?

A: Yes, the Frequency Illusion isn’t always negative. It can help us in adaptation and survival by focusing our attention on relevant information. For example, when considering a car purchase, noticing more of that particular car model can aid in decision-making.

Q: What role does the Reticular Activating System (RAS) play in the Frequency Illusion?

A: The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a part of the brain responsible for filtering incoming information and prioritizing what gets our attention. When something is on our mind, the RAS tends to highlight it, making it more noticeable in our surroundings. This mechanism partially explains why we experience the Frequency Illusion.

Q: Can the Frequency Illusion be detrimental in certain situations?

A: While the Frequency Illusion generally isn’t harmful, it can lead to biases or distortions in perception, especially in traumatic events. In cases like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Frequency Illusion might exacerbate symptoms. However, awareness of cognitive biases can help mitigate their negative effects and promote a clearer understanding of our thought processes.