• Amy Shteyman

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


Imagine a black apple with a large bite taken out of it. Does this image remind you of anything else? I don't know about you, but most people would immediately think of the world-famous Apple logo. You know, that small icon that's found on iPads, iPhones, and personal computers of the Apple brand, and kinda looks like this:

Nowadays, most people would not think about an actual edible apple that someone took a bite out of. Why? Well, this is because of priming. When we sense certain things in our environment, they can activate associated concepts in our memory. These concepts can stay activated for a period of time and influence our emotions and behavior... and we often don't even notice. In this case, I told you think about a black apple, but you probably unknowingly thought of the Apple logo instead.

In the past, scientists have studied the length of time between a person's first exposure to a stimulus in his or her environment and when priming actually occurs in the brain; however, how long does priming last in the brain after exposure? Five minutes? Ten?

I was curious to find out.

For my study, I used semantic priming.

This particular type of priming involves priming people with words. For instance, go find a friend and ask him or her, "Who works in a hospital?" Your friend would probably say, "Doctor." Now, ask your friend to fill in the missing letter to complete the word, "__URSE." Although words such as "curse" and "purse" are eligible candidates, your friend would most likely think of the word "nurse" because nurses are associated with doctors!

Semantic priming can be uncovered everywhere because of its powerful effects on the unconscious mind. Literature, advertisements— you name it. Additionally, semantic priming is an easy way to test priming because subjects can simply read a short passage and answer questions to determine the extent of the effects of priming on their brains.

My study looked at whether priming lasts for ten minutes after an initial exposure to a stimulus, 24 hours after an initial stimulus, or neither. Subjects were given a reading either about a house or a mouse and then asked to fill in the missing letter to complete the word, "__OUSE." This word test was given to the subjects either ten minutes after an initial stimulus or 24 hours after an initial stimulus.

What do you think happened?

Well, the results were shocking. After analyzing my data, I found that priming lasts for at least 10 minutes but not after 24 hours. But what does this mean?

The implications of this data are far-reaching. This means that successful marketingbrands such as Nike can influence people for almost ten minutes simply by flashing their checkmark logo. People are constantly exposed to this message subconsciously, so they may be more willing to go buy Nike apparel. Priming may also be used in propaganda because when people are exposed to certain messages, the memories will stay activated for at least ten minutes. That's a long time.

Overall, there are many ways in which priming can be used. Ten minutes is a long period of time for priming to occur in humans, and the ways in which priming can influence us are scary!

#amyshteyman #priming #cognitivepsychology

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


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#longislandhighschoolpsychologyfair #contribute #research

  • Yena Kim

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


Ah, siblings.

They are often strange creatures that we have grown to love and cherish. Some of us may have them in our homes, but others may not see them at all. Some of us may have gotten into brutal fights with them, but others may only remember being spoiled by them. Whatever the case may be, they sure do a good job at making our lives a lot more interesting.

Now, consider the birth order of you and your siblings. Who was born first? Is there a middle child? What about the youngest? Have you ever felt like the order in which you were born in strongly influenced your personality?

If you nodded your head to the previous statement, then you are definitely not alone. In the 1920s, a famous psychologist named Alfred Adler was one the first people to theorize that birth order impacts one’s personality. He believed this to be true because parents usually treat their kids differently based on birth order. Adler’s theory focused on four basic positions: oldest, middle, youngest, and only.

The oldest child is believed to be...

  • Serious

  • Aggressive

  • Goal-oriented

  • Organized

  • Strict

The middle child is believed to be...

  • Natural mediators

  • Conflict avoiders

  • Highly loyal to the peer group

  • Even-tempered

  • Insecure

The youngest child is believed to be...

  • The entertainer of the family

  • A charming friend

  • Pampered the most

  • Manipulative

  • Control-seeking

The only child is believed to be...

  • Spoiled by parents

  • Highly independent

  • Similar to the oldest or the youngest child

Well, this is all great, but I know that some of you are already thinking that this theory slightly smells suspicious. Perhaps you are thinking that these birth order stereotypes hold little truth, and you may not be entirely wrong!

In a recent study, a couple of German researchers looked at over 20,000 adults from the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom in order to compare siblings both within the same family and people with the same birth order across families. The researchers tried to find a close connection between birth order and personality, but they could not discover anything noteworthy.

Of course, with that study alone, it is impossible to completely throw out Adler's theory. Having these conflicting ideas clearly calls for more research to be done on birth order. However, in the meantime, it probably wouldn't hurt to tell your siblings about Adler's theory and perhaps learning more about yourselves.

#yenakim #personality #birthorder #alfredadler #research