Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Process of Priming

 After rewatching the Ted talk "The Pattern Behind Self-deception," presented by Michael Shermer, I was fascinated about the phenomenon of priming and how our brains experience a certain stimulus and associate it with another. Shermer touched on this experience with certain paintings and photos priming different shapes and meanings from how the photo was presented. Typically, priming is used by introducing a stimulus to influence how people respond to a different stimulus. This works by activating an association or memory just before another stimulus is introduced. This occurs without our conscious awareness and yet it constantly can influence our behavior and performance at certain tasks. 

There are plenty of examples of priming but the most common is word association. For example, exposing someone to the word “Nurse” would expect a faster response to the word “Doctor” or “Hospital” then it would to words like “Banana”. This is because nurse and hospital are more closely related in memory and people associate them together more often.

Priming interests me because it can affect how people interact and interpret their surroundings. It reminds of back in 2018 when a viral video was being passed around asking people if they heard the word “Yanny” or “Laurel” with some people claiming that they can change what they hear depending on what they are thinking about. The fact that just being aware and primed to interpret a lyric in a particular way, people are more likely to hear it in a certain way based upon that priming.


1 comment:

  1. The introduction to the COVID-19 vaccines has concerns for people that have a fear of needles. I know people that have opted to take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, because it only requires one needle stick in the arm. I believe this can be an example of priming. The sight of a needle, which is a object that represents fear of pain to many can cause anxiety to the point of fainting. The use of distraction away from the needle brings little attention to the quick injection and feeling of pain. So, the needle being the stimulus and the fear of the pain of the needle is taken away by the brain being temporarily distracted by conversation or surrounding activities.