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!