Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Service Spring 2021 - Page 20

PRIMING PSYCOLOGY

PRIMING PSYCHOLOGY :

HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO DO WHAT YOU WANT

Do you prime people to be their best selves ? Priming psychology is one of the most underutilized success techniques .

WHAT IS PRIMING PSYCHOLOGY ?
Priming is using a stimulus like a word , image or action to change someone ’ s behavior . For example , research has found that we can prime someone to walk more slowly by having them read words like cautious or leisurely . Or we can prime someone to be less rude by having them read words like patient , polite and respectful .
Priming is when we expose someone to something that influences their behavior later on — without that individual being aware that the first thing guided their behavior .
HOW DO YOU USE PRIMING ?
Priming can be used with a variety of stimuli . Here are the most common priming sources :
• Words : Having someone read words , unscramble words or work with words can prime them to act on the meaning of that word . For example , you reading the word ‘ thorough ’ should make you read this article more thoroughly = )
• Images : Having someone look at an image , draw an image or work with an image can prime them for what the image represents .
• Actions , Items , Videos : You can also prime with real life objects , actions or videos . If I serve candy in my office , it will prime you differently than if I serve roast beef .
PRIMING EXAMPLES
There are some great priming examples in psychology . Let ’ s go through some great priming science .
Priming People to Be Less Rude
In 1996 , researcher John Bargh did an experiment to see if he could influence behavior with a simple activity . The researchers had three groups of participants .
1 ) The first group had the “ Rude Condition ” and had to unscramble a list of rude words like bold , aggressive , disturb .
2 ) The second group , called “ Polite Condition ” had a series of polite words like patient , respect and respectful .
3 ) The last group , the “ Neutral Condition ”, had words that were neither polite nor rude .
When a participant was done unscrambling words , they were instructed to walk down the hallway and tell the researcher they were finished .
Unbeknownst to them , the researcher would be in a long fake discussion with another researcher when the participant arrived . The experiment was to test how long it would take for each group to interrupt the researcher to tell him that they were done .
Within 10 minutes , 60 % of the rude group had interrupted , while only 40 % of the neutral group and 20 % of the polite group had interceded .
This is a very simple experiment , with a very powerful lesson . It teaches us that people can be subconsciously primed to act differently .
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