Recency Frequency

When you become that much more aware of something AFTER an initial or even significant amount of exposure to, or experience with that thing – you end up with this oddly increased level of awareness that occurs without any conscious effort. Like when you’re shopping for a specific new car and you think you’re the only one who knows about it or possibly has one, until you actually purchase it, and no sooner do you drive it off the lot, do you begin to see ‘your’ car, in ‘your’ color, everywhere you look. This phenomenon, the one where you happen upon some obscure piece of information, an unusual ingredient, a new word or even car, and not long afterwards come across the same object or subject again, and again, and again, is again, not a coincidence, but what is actually referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Citing Stanford University linguistics professor, Arnold Zwicky, it’s the syndrome in which a concept or thing you JUST found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. As opposed to “The Observer-Expectancy Effect,” which occurs when someone tells you ‘there will be something/anything’ and, suddenly, hey, there are! But, this time, without the prompting, you would not have come to that conclusion yourself. Like when you were a kid... “Made you look!”

If I’m seeing something, something I’m paying particular attention to, and in turn, I don’t just tell you about it, but I tell you to keep an eye out for it, I can assure you, you will see it too. It’s called priming or anchoring when an implicit memory effect in which exposure to a stimulus influences a response to a later stimulus, while confirmation bias reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the stimulus, the thing I told you to look out for, has gained, what appears to be, an overnight omnipresence. Perhaps it is just a sophisticated system of subtle suggestion, like some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, where conveying something to a few key people will allow the ‘trend’ itself to trickle down. Not exactly predicted. Either way, this was the beginning of the thinking behind the thematic platforms that our CMS team would soon bundle from our Billboard listing of well over 600 so-called trends.


  • Michael Katz

    My last car color I thought looked special and it was to me and then down me of my boat mates parked his car next to me and it was the exact make and color 😉

  • Stuart Kaffee

    I can relate to that, but never gave it much thought. When we were replacing our home shutters, I kept on noticing the ones everywhere we drove. Many other instances, to many to note.

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