Say “silk” ten times. Now, spell “silk.” What do cows drink?
Answer: “Milk. No, wait…!”
Many people know about this game or at least similar ones, but only few know the psychological effect that is responsible for our wrong answers: Priming.
During priming neural networks are preactivated without our knowing. Since some concepts in the brain are closely associated with each other, the activation of one concept (such as “silk”), prepares the activation of another one (such als “milk”).
But how huge are priming effects really?
For example: Does thinking about a professor increase your intelligence?
And: What effects can placebos have on our mental capacity?
Keywords: Priming – fluid intelligence – General Knowledge – Dijksterhuis – van Knippenberg – Trivial Pursuit – Diederik Stapel – research fraud – Social Psychology – David Shanks – replication failed – too much noise – tests too difficult – publication bias – false positives – Ulrich Weger – Steve Loughnan – Placebo Effects – (bogus) subliminal priming – Anxiety – Stress