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Researchers use sensory integration model to understand unconscious priming
Date:1/24/2014

ing contribute to our impression that the mug is made of some hard material. The situation in social priming is that sources of information are combined in rather surprising ways. If holding that hot-coffee-filled mug in our hand signals "warmth" to us while we are introduced to someone, we might perceive that person to be socially warmer than the social interaction alone would suggest.

To apply the model to priming, Klatzky and Creswell extend it to include additional bids from indirect sources, including memory and heuristic inferences made by "rule of thumb." They explain indirect bidding as it relates to several classic priming studies, including how words unrelated to action but synonymous for elderly, such as "Florida," "old" and "lonely," might cause individuals to walk more slowly. The concept of "elderly" is aroused, and it causes a heuristic bid on a related dimension, such as self-perceived energy resources. Priming "elderly" leads to a reduced estimate of available energy, which directly affects walking speed. Variations in whether this happens may result because people interpret the prime words differently, or because some individuals' perceived energy levels are unaffected, or simply because their walking speed is determined by something like hurrying to the next appointment rather than the words they heard.

"Our approach is to understand how the basic processes work, in order to account for the inconsistencies," Klatzky said. "Because, as scientists, once you understand the underlying causes, you are gifted with control over when effects occur and when they don't."

Creswell, associate professor of psychology and member of the CNBC, believes their inter-sensory interaction model provides a significant advance to research on social priming.

"We are constantly being primed by our environment, yet there is significant debate in the field about whether primes can influence our behavior in meaningful ways, particu
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Contact: Shilo Rea
shilo@cmu.edu
412-268-6094
Carnegie Mellon University
Source:Eurekalert

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