Try answering these questions.
- What do you call the white liquid that most people pour on cereal?
- What do many people put in their tea other than sugar?
- What does M.I.L.K. spell?
- What do cows drink?
This is a little more powerful if you hear it, but I bet you had a similar reaction. You are guided to answer milk for the first three as the correct answer. You were likely tempted to answer milk to the last question as well, even when you may have had a feeling it was not right. Why did you do that? Cows don’t drink milk they drink water.
This is because I primed your mind with a word you associate to cows. ‘Oh, that is powerful’, you are thinking – at least that is what I thought when I started learning about the psychology of priming and associated memory. I can certainly see the connection between this reaction and selling or marketing, but then an even more powerful connection appeared to me.
This is the reason why being positive, using affirmations, hanging around the right people, watching the right shows, and reading the right books actually has an effect on our success. We can influence our actions with ideas and visa-versa. Research has shown that priming someone’s mind can have an effect on how they act or react.
Research – John Barge (The Florida Effect)
Young participants were shown words related to old people (with an elderly theme and without saying the word ‘old’). When they were asked to move to a new room, they were timed and it showed a measurably slowing of their walking pace compared to the participants that were not showed these ‘old’ associated words. The participants had no knowledge of the connection of the words nor were they aware that their walking pace was measurably slower (unconscious action). Their actions had changed.
Meaning for You
Prime with the right thoughts and physically prime your body to support your goals. Smiling (appropriately) can actually make a tense situation feel less harsh, lighter and easier to come to a resolution. Getting exercise can make you more respective to active ideas. Meditating can make you more open to opportunities. Reading or watching mind-growing books and shows can grow your mind. “Be conscious about how you train your unconscious to act.”