The stimulus that influences your short-term thoughts and actions that you’re unaware about
Ever heard what ‘Priming’ is?
Look at this picture. What do you see?
Now name me a fruit.
Did you just thought of a banana? Or any fruit in yellow?
Why? Why not an apple? A watermelon? A pear?
Because you just got primed.
What is Priming?
When exposure to some thing influences the behavior of an individual later on, without that individual being aware that the first thing is guiding their behavior to a certain extent.
That ‘thing’ can be a word, sound or an image.
Examples of Priming
- Complete this word: SO_P. Depending on where you had spent time in, the word can be SOAP (went to the toilet), or SOUP (just finished dinner).
- Restaurants may resort to playing a particular type of music to boost sales of an item. For example, French classical music to prime customers into buying French wine.
3. An insurance ad may show pictures of people smiling or looking happy to prime potential buyers of assurance and happiness when they buy it.
Why are we weak to priming?
Scientists have discovered that different regions of the brain are tied to our different behaviours.
For example, the region of the brain that light up when you feel physical pain is also the region that will be activated when you feel emotional pain.
So when we saw that yellow umbrellas picture earlier, the word “yellow” stays in our short-term subconscious mind, causing us to name a fruit in yellow.
How to guard against Priming
According to many studies done, priming is out of our control.
Priming occurs in the intuitive part of the brain , where we do not have conscious access to.
This results in us thinking that we are all rational, and made decisions logically and consciously, where in fact we did not know that we’ve been primed.
However, priming has a weakness.
Priming effects have been discovered to last only between 15–20 minutes.
So to guard against priming, you can take your time to decide whether you should buy something, after talking to the salesperson.
Or question why the restaurant is playing the French classical music today.
In a nutshell: be skeptical and pay close attention to things around you.
Before you go…
What are some interesting examples of priming have you done or received from others? Leave a comment and let’s discuss about it.
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