Tag Archives: priming

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Placebos for Your Placebos

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As you know by now, I am a fan of placebos. They often provide significant benefits and with fewer side effects and much lower costs than “real” medication. How can you argue with that? Just because you are deceived in the process. I am happy to be an advocate, but not an ignorant one. And since I am always telling you about effective placebos, I should be fair and balanced and also tell you when they are not effective.

So I am biting the bullet and sharing with you a paper I just read by a neuroscience team from the University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany. They used a very small placebo, so that could explain the lack of results, but I thought I should share it anyway.

a silhouette of a person with gears in the brain

Priming Mindsets for Learning

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I have talked before about inexpensive ways to increase learning (here and here). Here is another example for you. I am sure many of you are familiar with Carol Dweck’s wonderful work on mindsets. Brainpickings has one of the best summaries of her work.

One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.

two man standing at the end of a hall in a pink room

Priming with Pink

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I think a lot about priming (for example, see the EID articles here and here). We need to wield this power carefully and only for the forces of good. A recent You Are Not So Smart podcast is a good example. David McRaney (one of my favorite thought leaders in this domain) interviews Adam Alter, who is a leading expert on priming. They cover a wide variety of his research in a very engaging interview. David also throws in a few great examples from other researchers both before and after his interview.

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OkCupid’s Tricky Priming

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Today’s post ties together a whole bunch of topics we have talked about recently. It starts with an article from Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OK Cupid.

I’m the first to admit it: we might be popular, we might create a lot of great relationships, we might blah blah blah. But OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing.

In this article, he crows about the experiments that OK Cupid runs and pooh poohs the hubbub that arose after the Facebook reveal last month.

money and a watch

Motivational Priming

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My research in the domain of human motivation has had a profound influence on me. I never realized how important the distinction is between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. When we are motivated intrinsically, we become dedicated, passionate, and persistent. When we are motivated extrinsically, we get tunnel vision on the reward and become less concerned with the underlying activity. This can result in lower quality of performance if we can get the reward through shortcuts. A recent study by Francesca Gino at Harvard Business School found something quite powerful…

a woman covering her ears and screaming

Unfortunate Priming with Only Two Letters

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Is this true? I know I find the use of “so” irritating, but I never really thought about why. This interesting article from Fast Company suggests some reasons why.

It’s actually a damaging tendency. Beginning your sentence with “so” orients your message and subconsciously alerts your audience that what you’re about to say is different than what you’ve been talking about up until this point…

a futuristic musician

Complex Priming with Music

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For the next in our series on priming, I want to focus on something that I think you will find really intriguing. I was doubtful at first, but my knowledge of priming, the link between music and cognition architecture, and the mathematics underling music, gives me some pause. Granted this is just one study, so some restraint is warranted. But the results of this study can have amazing benefits for companies pumping music into different kinds of workplaces (call centers versus R&D skunkworks) and retail (grocery stores versus Apple Stores)…

a pile of tools of all sorts

Entooled Cognition

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Consider this quote from Catie Lazarus in a recent Fast Company article:

My dad always told me that when you’re handed a test, put your pencil down and don’t write a thing.

My post today is the next in a series of posts: from embodied cognition to enclothed cognition and now entooled cognition…

a baby wraped up in many pieces of clothing

Embodied and Enclothed Cognition

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How many of you are as addicted to David McRaney’s work as I am? For the uninitiated, he is the author of the bestselling You Are Not So Smart and recently wrote the sequel You Are Now Less Dumb. He also has a great podcast. I am sorry if this seems like an ad for his work, but I am not alone. Brain Pickings (which you should definitely be reading!) has raved about his ideas several times this year…