The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon: Background information when reading The Wife Between Us

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The Wife Between Us

by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen X
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2018, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2018, 416 pages

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Kim Kovacs

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The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

This article relates to The Wife Between Us

At one point in The Wife Between Us, the main character claims to have experienced Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. She states, "It's when you become aware of something—the name of an obscure band, say, or a new type of pasta—and it seems to suddenly appear everywhere."

The phenomenon (pronounced badder-mainhoff) is also known as a "frequency illusion," and was first speculated about in 1995 by a commentator on the St. Paul's Pioneer Press online discussion board. He'd heard reference to a left-wing German terrorist organization that had been active in the 1970s twice in one day, and wondered how he could suddenly become aware of something so obscure.

The phenomenon even has a dedicated Facebook page. Stanford professor Arnold Zwicky wrote about the syndrome in 2006, dubbing it "frequency illusion." He stated that it is triggered by two psychological processes. The first, selective attention, occurs whenever you encounter something new. It causes that information—be...

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