This is the term used to describe the unusual deja-vu like occurrence that happens when you are introduced to something new, whether it be a song or a concept, and then you somehow come into contact with the new concept from another source. The term was coined in 1986 when a reader of the Minessota St. Paul press wrote about hearing of a factional left wing revolutionary group in Germany circa 1970 and the ill-fated Munich games (in fact, the leaders of this terrorist organization were on the Black Septembers list of captured terrorists they wanted released in exchange for the 9 Israeli hostages being held). The reader, in a community contributed forum, added that after he had learned of the Baader-Meinhof organization (aka the Red Army Faction) he again heard of the same group from a different source. Readers piled in their own experiences with the phenomenon. The term also includes seeing symbols and then recognizing the same symbol in the environment around. An example I use for this phenomenon is I will frequently think of a song or jingle, or remember a commercial I had seen and then shortly thereafter I will be confronted by the same commercial, song, or jingle. Weird isn’t? Almost fatelike, as if you called out to the infinite universe and it answered you back in this ho-hum way.
Some have suggested it is a type of selective hearing, or selective attention, where our attention is brought to the matter and begins to screen for it more attunely in their environment. They call this the recency effect. But rationalization of a talked about phenomenon almost seems contradictory to actually understanding why this happens. In other words, trying to scientifically reason it out seems to be an obsequious and arrogant way to understand a phenomenon.
If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of this and somehow you come into contact with someone else telling you about the phenomenon, then you’ve just experienced a Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.