top of page

Priming/Creating a Psychological “Set”

Definition 1

Act of influencing subsequent tasks/measurements by inserting prior material overtly or subliminally.

Source: Behavioral Science Lab, 2017

Definition 2

Conceptual priming is a technique and process applied in psychology that engages people in a task or exposes them to stimuli. The prime consists of meanings (e.g. words) that activate associated memories (schema, stereotypes, attitudes, etc.). This process may then influence people’s performance on a subsequent task (Tulving et al., 1982). For example, one study primed consumers with words representing either ‘prestige’ US retail brands (Tiffany, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom) or ‘thrift’ brands (Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Dollar Store). In an ostensibly unrelated task, participants primed with prestige names then gave higher preference ratings to prestige as opposed to thrift product options (Chartrand et al., 2008). Conceptual priming is different from processes that do not rely on activating meanings, such as perceptual priming (priming similar forms), the mere exposure effect (repeated exposure increases liking), affective priming (subliminal exposure to stimuli evokes positive or negative emotions) (Murphy & Zajonc, 1993), or the perception-behavior link (e.g. mimicry) (Chartrand & Bargh, 1999).

Source: Behavioral Economics

bottom of page