Somebody in our neighborhood Facebook group posted a silly question that said more or less “how come everybody around here is driving a blue Suzuki Swift?”
That post got a lot of comments, mostly people trying to make funny jokes, but some people seriously trying to come up with reasons why, such as pointing out that one of the car repair shops has a few of them for its loaner fleet.
But a few commenters pointed out that this is an example of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (more prosaically known as Frequency Illusion). I’ve read enough popular neuroscience / cognition stuff that I’m sure I must’ve learned about this at some point, but if so I’d completely forgotten. Basically, if you find your attention drawn to something unusual like the Baader-Meinhof gang or a blue Suzuki Swift, you’ll suddenly see it everywhere. The illusion is the belief that there are actually more of the thing… probably not, it’s just that you’re noticing what was there all along.
And it’s true! We now can’t leave the house without seeing one or more of these little gems. There are at least three different blues on the road, and a shade of green that could be counted in a pinch. I’ve seen two simultaneously on the freeway, and three in a parking lot.
Plus, it’s kinda fun to say: blue Suzuki, blue Suzuki, blue Suzuki Swift!
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