What is Priming Theory?

What is Priming? What is meant by Priming in Psychology? What are the types? How can you Prime others? Does Priming affect Everyone in the Same Way? How to use the Self-Priming theory?
priming theory

Every living organism responds to external stimuli. This function is involuntary and it happens quickly. But you must have seen or heard about the factor priming theory that is an exception in this natural response to stimuli in humans. Keep reading because ahead you will get to know about how to prime and I will also define priming in psychology. 

1. What do you mean by Priming Theory?

Light pink and peachy-brown smiley balloons: priming theory 1

A phenomenon in which the exposure or sudden involvement to one stimulus influences the response, thoughts, or behaviors to the next following stimulus of actions and thoughts is known as priming. For example, when you pass through any kid wearing a school dress, you are either reminded about your school days or your kids. 

A priming process occurs when the mental representations of certain concepts are activated by your exposure to something or some situations to which those concepts are closely related. And this activation affects your response like you respond quicker than usual. (See PhD Vs PsyD in Psychology

2. How to define Priming in Psychology?

It can be a word, action, body gesture, or image that can change someone’s behavior (happy or sad). For example, when you say the word catch, the other person becomes alert and takes the position to catch the throw.

It is a technique or method that you must have used to expose someone to some situation or thing that influences their behavior. But that individual himself is unaware of the fact that you are priming him. For example, you bring a box full of spiders to the room where your friend is because you know she will jump in fear, and she will not be aware of it. (See What is a Mood Ring?)

3. What is the Relation between Priming theory and Memory?

A kid in an open area

The reaction or response of a person to some stimulus is not generated instantly. Instead, it has been in-built inside their memory for a long time. For example, if you call a new kid at your house by ringing the kitchen bell, he might not even respond to it because his memory does not have any such data which can resonate with you.

In psychology, priming is used as priming research to explore the patterns of memory, and emotional processing and how these hints affect the thinking of a person. You can use certain actions to bring up the other person reacting towards it. Like I mentioned the word catch earlier, you can just raise your hand in a throw position, call the name of the person, and notice that the person will thoughtlessly take a position to catch. (See How to Remember Dreams in the Morning?)

4. What are the Types of Priming?

  • Associative priming involves the use of a first word or image that is somehow connected to the second piece of the stimulus. This priming is also known as context planning.
  • Conceptual priming involves using two words that are related to each other conceptually.
  • Masked priming keeps the initial stimulus concealed, and the second is revealed but the person reacts and recognizes the first one too.
  • Perceptual priming means the use of words or images from different categories like band and gland.
  • Repetition priming means if you encounter a stimulus once, it becomes a part of your memory, and it becomes easier for you to respond to the same stimulus.
  • Semantic priming is the response towards a stimulus that is improved every time it takes place.
  • Subliminal priming is the one where your cognitive processing is influenced through that stimulus, but you are unaware of this fact.
  • Supraliminal priming theory is when you are aware of the stimulus being used. (Also read The 10 Types Of Personality Disorder)

5. How Images can be used in Priming?

A person holding his instant photograph: priming theory 2

Sometimes images can be used in priming people to bring out their emotional side. Like you know how your group will react when they see your picture on a hospital bed (fake or real) or no matter how much you have been injured, they will come rushing to you. It can be useful when you want your group to patch up and forget past incidents. (See Is Telepathy Real in Love?

6. How Items and Words can be used as Priming Tools?

Items are also carriers of memories, both good and bad, along with being indicators. For example, if you are sitting silently on your couch, a wine glass and bottle is on the table. Even though you were not the one drinking, anyone will think that you are drunk because of the bottle. 

Videos like horror, comedy, romance, or any genre can be used to bring out a different response from a person. These kinds of stuff can bring real memories from the past that can deeply influence someone. Also, when your partner calls you by your name or your nickname, your response is instant which also catches your attention and he knows your response to it. This can also happen when you watch a movie together or listen to some old songs that include some of your sweet memories and so you can respond immediately to this priming theory. (See How to Know if Someone Loves You Psychology?)

7. How Priming is used for Abuse?

Abusing can be physical or verbal, but once an abuser finds out your reaction towards it, he will continue to do so. For example, a school bully often bullies other kids by scaring them with physical abuse or violence in order to get what he wants. He uses bullying as a stimulus to bring out fear in other kids. He knows the trigger points and intentionally uses the negative side of priming to harass other kids. (See Best Child Psychology Books)

8. How Priming Psychology can be Different for Everyone?

An eye of the lady looking in the mirror.

So, priming can be negative, fun, or just a casual activity. And it is not necessary that you can use priming theory on everyone, expecting the same response from them. Everyone is not influenced equally, and some people do not even allow priming to affect them. Most likely, the response depends on what you are priming that person with. (See Psychology Behind Vicarious Embarrassment)

9. How to Practice Self-Priming Psychology?

Yes, you can use it on yourself to start each day with more energy and focus on achieving your goals. Take 10 minutes off from your schedule and carry out the 7 steps of the priming exercise. You can carry on with it while having breakfast also.

  • Sit on a chair, feet on the floor, chest up, neck held long, head high, and shoulders at the back.
  • Place your hands on your heart and do the next step in the self-priming theory.
  • Practice three sets of breathing with 30 breaths in each set. Take a one-minute pause between the sets.
  • Now think about three things you are grateful for and pay gratitude for them for about three minutes. You can change the gratitude list whenever you want, and it can include things from your past or present. 
  • Now pray for your loved ones and even strangers to get your energy and be happy. Do this step for 1-minute and 30-seconds.
  • Focus on your new goals and celebrate your success with past goals for the next 3-minutes.
  • Now take as much time as you need to relax and then begin your day. (See How to Practice Self-Love?)

Now, you are well aware of priming theory and how to prime others. I did define priming in psychology and hope you will share this information with others as well. Do share your feedback and experiences regarding this theory in the comments. (See 10 Golden Rules of Life)

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