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Priming Effect: why background factors might (and will) influence you

Imagine being in a room, reading a few sentences written on a paper. 

Now imagine you have to move from one room to another. What are the chances that the sentences you just read will influence how fast you reach the other room? 


In 1996, was conducted the following experiment. Two groups of students were divided into two rooms. Examiners tell them to read and form sentences with some words written on a piece of paper. After this test, they were requested to move to another room for the second test. Actually, the real test was the "walk" between the two rooms. Researchers noted how the students who were given a corpus containing elderly-related words such as bingo and Florida (here the name The Florida Experiment) were much slower than the others.

This was one of the first experiments that proved the so-called Priming Effect.

The background factors unconsciously influence your mind and thoughts; after a while, your mind will inevitably influence your actions and behaviour. 

In the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman presents at least two other experiments on the same gear.

An experiment conducted during elections showed how voters were more willing to vote for politicians in favour of improving schools if the polling station was in a school or if the polling was full of pictures of schools and children.

Also, in another experiment, people exposed to screensavers with images of dollars and money were shown to be more selfish than the others. In fact, they tended to collect fewer pencils from the floor when a colleague dropped them by mistake than the participants who weren't primed with images of dollars in their screensaver.

Did you know this phenomenon? How do you think the environment influences your actions?


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