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This is partially an aspect of the binding problem. Sensory information arrives in parallel as a variety of heterogeneous hints, (shapes, colors, motions, smells and sounds) encoded in partly modular systems. Typically many objects are present at once. The result is an urgent case of what has been labelled the binding problem. We must collect the hints, ...


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As @Steven Jeuris has said, the phenomena is best known as semantic satiation. It's not as popular a topic of study as it used to be (most references I can find for it come from the 1960s), but, to the best of my memory, the actual cause of the phenomena is down to how meaning is represented in the brain. I'll explain this by loosely paraphrasing an account ...


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If you use a slightly different (and to my own experience more common) phrasing of this phenomenon to look for information you find immediate relevant results on Google. Rather than referring to words fading from consciousness I've usually heard it being stated as repeating a word often makes it lose its meaning. The first hit is a Wikipedia article on ...



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