Michaeline: Prime Time

Radha and Madhav have an epiphany. Wikipedia says their connections are ones of marriage and mental love. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Radha and Madhav have an epiphany. Wikipedia says their connections are ones of marriage and mental love. Image via Wikimedia Commons

So, this January I’ve been reading a couple of books that touch on the psychological process of priming. Both Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational and Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow describe some experiments about priming. The key thing is that certain words can speed our minds’ processing of related items. So if you read speedy words, you are more likely to be able to read “racecar” faster than you read, say, “turtledove.” The experiments they cite suggest that the words we read can affect aspects of our thinking beyond reading, as well.

This is really quite exciting. I mentioned it in a comment earlier, and Kay played with the idea a bit. Could reading words like “cocoa”, “festive”, “fuzzy”, and “fleece” leave one feeling warm and happy, and make one walk with a little bounce in one’s step, a whistle on one’s lips?

Well, if it works, wouldn’t that be great? So, in the name of scientific discovery, I’d like to give you a few friendly little word puzzles. Then, I’d like you to go write, and report back on what you found. I’ll post the answers in the comment section on Sunday, my time. So you people with other busy, happy things to do on Saturday, consider this your SPOILER ALERT!

And then we can talk about priming, good and otherwise, that we have experienced in our own lives. I’ll be interested to see what happens!

Your words are: ACEIIRTTVY AAGIIIMNNOT ACIMNORT AAEINOPSST EEFFGILONRW (this last is actually two words).

Take your time, and let me know what happens!

11 thoughts on “Michaeline: Prime Time

    • LOL. There’s definitely an art to puzzle-making, and alphabetical order is NOT the best way to jumble a word, especially 10- or 11-letter words. It does sound like a sneeze. (Or five of them.)

      Let me give a hint: the beginning letters are cr, im, ro, pa and fr– fl—–.

      I’ll post the answers in a few hours.

      Good health to you! And fizzy-fuzzy feelings that make you swoon just a bit!

      • Okay, got ’em. The hints made all the difference. Before I kept seeing “afterglow” in that last one and it tripped me up.

        I’ll see what happens if I “prime” with these words tomorrow.

        • (-: Even puzzle-writers must have tricks of the trade. I was slightly worried that one of my words would actually be in alphabetical order, but it turns out that worry was misplaced. Next time (if there is a next time), I’ll try shorter words, and I’ll randomize them properly, by writing each letter on a slip and doing it that way.

          Although, funnily enough, “afterglow” fits PERFECTLY into my priming theme! So, maybe you are primed and ready to go (-:.

      • Funny. I had a quick go at these last night and my brain flatly refused to play. I looked again this morning and got ’em nice and quickly. Now here’s hoping they do their job!

  1. ANSWERS ANSWERS ANSWERS (skip to next comment if you don’t want the answers yet)

    So, the five priming words were creativity, imagination, romantic, passionate and free-flowing, and the intention was to help the puzzle-doer to have a really nice writing session that was full of ideas, smooth and of course, with that sexy spark, since we all like our romance here.

    AND THOSE WERE THE ANSWERS ANSWERS ANSWERS (I tried to bury them so they wouldn’t be too obvious to the skimmer.)

    • So, I’m not sure if a couple of tries is enough data points to draw a conclusion, but I’m thinking “priming” might have some real potential. I tried it with words and I tried it with watching a particular scene from a TV show that had the general feeling of the scene I wanted to write and I felt like I got a little extra creative-boost, so I’m going to add it to my writer’s toolbox. Thanks for the idea Michaeline.

      • Yeah, there’s nothing scientific about what we are doing. But setting intentions, or praying, or “doing magic” by repeating a charm every morning . . . there’s a long history of using priming.

        And I didn’t think about this until I read your comment, but I completed a short story this week, and it’s romantic and passionate. So, I just can’t say.

        I do think I’m going to try to be extra careful about what I look at and what I read, especially first thing in the morning. It certainly can’t hurt to add a little positivity and some word puzzles to my life . . . .

  2. Pingback: Michaeline: Prime Results – Eight Ladies Writing

  3. Pingback: Michaeline: My Favorite Tip of the Year – Eight Ladies Writing

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