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Most of us have had the experience of stumbling over a new fact or bit of knowledge and then finding several more references to it in the near future. For example, you see a strange word which you're forced to look-up and then the next day the same word appears in the headline of your local paper. There's a term for this phenomenon but I've been unable to track it down. Can anyone help?

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Great question. I've run into this phenomenon from time to time, and would love to know a word for it. Welcome to the site! –  Jonik Nov 23 '10 at 0:14
    
I'll add to this a statistician’s point of view: beware of the rare event –  F'x Mar 15 '11 at 8:46
    
Er, you posted "atavism" and "avatistic". Perhaps you meant "atavistic"? –  MrHen Oct 25 '13 at 16:44
    
For one thing, you can rest assured that this does not only happen to you. It is quite common to learn something, or see/hear of something, for the first time in your entire life, and then within a week, you’ll have seen it half a dozen times in the most unexpected places. I too have occasionally wondered whether this sort-of-kind-of-a-little-bit déjà vu-like phenomenon has a word, but I am not aware of one. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 25 '13 at 16:49

6 Answers 6

I think you might be thinking of synchronicity.

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He might also be looking for the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, not being able to track it down because Wikipedia no longer has an article on that term. –  RegDwigнt Nov 23 '10 at 9:50
    
I think that, despite what that deleted article says, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is just a type of synchronicity. But interesting find, thanks! –  Marthaª Nov 23 '10 at 14:25
    
@RegDwight: Sometimes the Wiki moves in mysterious ways... I noticed this deletion before and never understood the rationale behind it: at least it deserves a paragraph in Recency Effect or Synchronicity; the current disambiguation page doesn't explain it at all. –  Cerberus Mar 14 '11 at 16:59
    
RegDwight, I can offer you the bounty, but you've not commented. –  n0nChun Mar 15 '11 at 4:17

It's called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Read more on Damn Interesting.

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now can I give myself this bounty :P –  n0nChun Mar 14 '11 at 16:37

As others note, some call it the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon and it is somewhat close to synchronicity. It is also related to the recency effect. The psychological term for it seems to be the primacy effect or priming

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That would be a form of confirmation bias. "Synchronicity" is a pop-psychology term.

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No. Seeing something because you've recently seen it, is not the same as seeing things because it's what you expect. –  Matt Эллен Apr 23 '12 at 10:40
    
Frequency illusion is the psychological term you are looking for. –  Matt Эллен Apr 23 '12 at 10:45

The "official" term is "frequency illusion."

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Your answer would be improved if you told us more about the context(s) where "frequency illusion" and if you told us what agency considerers it "official." –  Michael Owen Sartin Dec 5 '13 at 0:01

I have heard it referred to as 'Cognitive Resonance'. If you have recently heard about a new phenomenon you are more likely to notice it again. (and again, and again...)

But 'Frequency Illusion' is apparently the preferred name.

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