The psychology of 11/11/11: Pattern recognition and scarcity

11:11:11 on 11/11/11
Photo courtesy of Nicholas Paine

It was 1992.  I was sitting in Mrs. Henderson’s class writing down the date for an assignment, MM/DD/YY format, when it struck me that those numbers would all match on November 11, 2011.  After determining that I would probably still be alive, I made a mental note that I had to do something special on that far-off date (which, incidentally, turned into this post).

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who makes a big deal about repeating numbers in dates.  Several product release dates have been slated for 11/11/11 (such as the much-anticipated Skyrim).  The wedding industry has also seen a huge clamor for ceremonies on 9/9/09, 10/10/10, and 11/11/11.

So why all the hoopla for what is, in fact, a man-made label?