A Clever Example of Psychological Priming

cow drinking milkOne of the more useful phenomena employed in psychological research is what’s known as “priming.” This idea is simple: get a thought into people’s heads, and it lingers, thereby affecting future thoughts. Hold a cup of hot tea while riding an elevator, and the next person you meet might seem to have a warmer personality!
Here is a fun little game you can play with your friends, that not only will surprise them, but will teach them about priming. Ask them to answer the following questions as quickly as they can:
–     What color is snow?
–     What color are clouds?
–     What color is whipped cream?
–     What color are polar bears?
–     What do cows drink?
Watch how many of your friends tell you that cows drink milk. They have been primed by saying “white” so many times, and by the ready association between cows and milk.
I thought that would be a fun one to pass along.
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