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, Continue reading