There are so many things going on and it’s a tough thing to do, but I think there are well-meaning people out there really trying to understand what’s really going on and to get that information out to the general public. For example, Abe Lincoln was known for his honesty and his humility, and that’s not a bad portrait to have in your wallet to remind you of Abe Lincoln, because it’ll remind you of those wonderful traits. I’m really excited about this week’s guest, because I’ve been citing his work in my speeches and writing since my early days in applying brain and behavioral science to marketing. That’s maybe not what you want to have going on in your mind without your knowing it at work. Why sit on such a fascinating result? To continue the discussion and to find your own path to brainy success, please visit us at RogerDooley.com. These things are skills. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Brainfluence Podcast. The old Budweiser Clydesdale ads, Christmastime ads, used to have the horses arrive and the doors were open to a place and there’d be a fire going. In this episode, John dives into the research behind priming and how certain stimuli can shape our perception and behavior. Although they might … Among the earliest researchers to approach the topic of priming were Bargh and Pietromonaco in 1982, Fazio et al. Before moving to Yale, he was a professor of psychology at New York University for 22 years. I contacted other psychologists for their view, and none of them spotted egregious technical flaws. Bargh says that Doyen used the same experimenter who administered the test to time how slowly the volunteers walked down the hall. Now, that word doesn’t get out much, and you don’t see the replication people talking about that very much, and there’s been other successful behavioral priming studies with very large ends that have been published. Anna Maria Zawadzka, Tim Kasser, Judyta Borchet, Magdalena Iwanowska, Aleksandra Lewandowska-Walter, The effect of materialistic social models on teenagers’ materialistic aspirations: Results from priming experiments, Current Psychology, 10.1007/s12144-019-00531-3, … We have a better understanding of the moderators and mediators, and that’s how science progresses. I always have tried to figure out how they’re working, what’s the intent, what’s going on behind them. My argument is that the factors which make up the total behaviour for each individual will be many and various. What we basically did was to show a little five-minute comedy with Drew Carey, “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” a show from like 10 years ago, just five minutes of that, and it was naturally with a commercial break about halfway through. Get ’em like, “Yeah, girls can do STEM, girls can do math, girls can do science,” but they’ve already got that from the culture, from the cartoons, maybe from their peers from who knows where, and these were kids at a Harvard preschool, so you really doubt it’s the parents. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. For more than three decades, Dr. John Bargh You emphasize one aspect of their identity, and then it also causes them to do these other things without realizing it, like not be as smart and not do as well on tests afterwards. Mea culpa. They left the test room neither more slowly nor more quickly than when they arrived. This is important because drawing someone’s attention to an automatic process tends to eliminate that effect. These subliminal studies are controversial. It’s really … it’s sad, because these stereotypes in the culture that really affect people who are members of those groups, and they’re debilitating to the extent that you can sort of buy into what the culture says that your group can or can’t do or should or shouldn’t do. If you can do something like hug ’em, hug ’em, have them feel that body warmth, dad’s as well as mom’s, that will help them the rest of their life. You know, I’ve got teenagers, and you might be watching your football game. In 2017, he published a popular book about his work on uncons… Filed Under: Podcast Tagged With: john bargh, priming. The primitive signal that makes people trust you. Your email address will not be published. 5. John A. Bargh (/ˈbɑːrdʒ/; born 1955) is a social psychologist currently working at Yale University, where he has formed the Automaticity in Cognition, Motivation, and Evaluation (ACME) Laboratory. I think we’d see a lot less pharmaceutical advertising. If someone else tickles me, yeah, I’m very ticklish, but I can’t tickle myself. What I really like is we were looking at things like with a magnifying glass, if you will. Roger Dooley:    Right. [Update: actually, I note that Doyen et al chose their priming words by using the most common answers in an online student survey where people reported adjectives related to old age; that’s at least a tangential way of assessing stereotypes. You can’t be beautiful and also smart. An important thing to keep in mind about eating while watching television. He then tracked the time it took students to get from the room of experiment to the elevator and compared it with how much it took them to arrive before the experiment. ], “To adapt the items, we conducted an online survey (80 participants) in which participants had to report 10 adjectives related to the concept of old age. In light of this “file drawer problem”, you might have thought that replication attempts would be welcome. I focus the last couple of chapters of the book on what can we do about this, and the number one thing that we can do is accept that these things really happen, because if we stick our head in the sand, we’re not going to do anything about them and we’ll be at their mercy. We had a food condition and a not-food ad condition, and what we did was to have a bowl of Goldfish crackers in front of them with some water while we watched the show, just sitting there incidentally. Coming from the direct marketing business, something that we would do is test mailing lists, and the typical test size is about 5,000 names, and if you had a 2% response rate, by and large that would be a reasonable indicator of how the much larger mailing to that list would respond. John Bargh and his colleagues found that infusing people’s minds with the concept of age could slow their movements (PDF). Here, I believe I did my due diligence. That’s going to be profitable. In Experiment 1, the same trait-priming manipulations that have exerted a nonconscious influence over social perceptual processes in previous research were shown to produce traitlike behavior as well. He then tracked the time it took students to get from the room of experiment to the elevator and compared it with how much it took them to arrive before the experiment. But the two literatures clearly speak tlon, In E. T. Higgins & R. M. to each other. All the scare headlines from 2012 about behavioral priming not being real and there’s a train wreck coming and all this kind of thing …. Two experiments are reported that provide evidence bearing on this hypothesis. What an experiment using hot and cold coffee cups tells us about our impressions of people. Let’s find out, yeah. John Bargh:        Okay. Much of Zajonc's work touched upon processes that occur outside of awareness. Hence, the operations set in motion by the priming of a nonconscious goal are efficient upon activation. All those words with all those things about the side effects, they know that people aren’t really listening to those. The group was split in two with half constructing sentences that included words… Aha, so there is some kind of connection with the warm and cold experiences and feeling, “Oh, yeah, this person’s warm and friendly and on my side,” or, “This person’s cold and unfriendly and against me,” friend or foe, which is so critical to our impressions of people. Well, in my office, John, I have two intentional primes. Let’s consider each in turn. I play that. Could the experimenter have primed the volunteers? And one of the authors, Axel Cleeremans says: “The fact is that we failed to replicate this experiment, despite having twice as many participants and using objective timing methods. That’s something I could have made more explicit in the original post, maybe somewhere in the fourth paragraph. Author, speaker, and educator on neural marketing and the psychology of persuasion. John Bargh and his co-authors, Mark Chen and Lara Burrows, performed that experiment in 1990 or 1991. Your email address will not be published. John Bargh demonstrated behavioral priming effects in over 200 laboratory experiments over 30 years. The low replicability estimate and the large file-drawer estimate suggest that replication failures are to be expected. To test that idea, Doyen repeated his experiment with 50 fresh volunteers and 10 fresh experimenters. It was the time, a very heady time in psychology. Here’s how I described it in my post: John Bargh and his colleagues found that infusing people’s minds with the concept of age could slow their movements (PDF). Experiment l showed that participants ... priming to describe the preparatory function of thought. One thing they found that is certainly true of our research in the past and many others, including famous researchers, is that we often drew conclusions from a very small sample size. In the field of psychology, this interesting phenomena is referred to as priming. Roger Dooley:    Uh-huh. What is automaticity, and why have you devoted so much effort to studying it? Daniel Simons, another noted psychologist, says, “[Bargh’s] post is a case study of what NOT to do when someone fails to replicate one of your findings.”. Bargh says that priming depends on there being something to prime. A lack of replication is a large problem in psychology (and arguably in science, full stop). The results of Experiment 1 demonstrate that priming a nonconscious impression formation goal activates mental operations that facilitate trait inferences over spontaneous trait inferences. They have a very strong academic identity, and yet they’re still prone to this stereotype that women are not supposed to be smart, they’re supposed to be beautiful. What we’re looking at is really what’s causing our reactions to the ad. "These terms implicitly tap into the primitive experience of what it … That’s why our lab is called automaticity, and ACME. What we started looking at was there’s an interesting attachment theorist, John Bowlby, who wrote about attachment and loss back around 1970, about how children bond with their parents, and he really focused on breastfeeding. “After all,” he writes, “it turns out that a warm bowl of chicken soup really is good for … I was struck by … well, I’ll tell you the Dante story in a second … but we were struck by that and so we said, “Okay, look, what if we substitute a warm or cold coffee cup for the actual words warm and cold?” We did the same studies they used to do with the words “warm” and “cold,” but we didn’t use the words. This is still a huge area of our field, but the idea of automatic processes that are triggered by the outside world you don’t even know you’re doing, yet they lead to your behaviors, they lead to your assumptions about people, your likes and dislikes. These experiments demonstrate the power of food advertising to prime automatic eating behaviors and thus influence far more than brand preference alone. Others have suggested that the Bargh study has many positive replications, but this is in question. One thing I try to do in “Before You Know I ” is to give life hacks. In Experiment 2, however, we were indeed able to replicate Bargh et al. The book is just chock-full of examples of these often really surprising behavior changes caused by very subtle factors. If you base your conclusions on a player after just three or four games and they make a lot of hits, well, that’s a small sample size. It seems there’s a proneness to just make a big deal about the failed replications, and sometimes even when they do replicate your study … as in this most recent “Nature” human behavior paper … they claim it didn’t replicate. There’s lots of alcohol ads on the Sunday afternoon football games, so it’s something that CNN picked up on it and got the word out that, you know, you might be more careful. There’s sort of a dumb blonde kind of thing, or a good-looking woman can’t be smart at the same time. These words included “retired”, “wrinkled”, “old”, “slow”, and others. By that reasoning, Doyen’s volunteers should have showed an even stronger effect. He then asked them to walk down a hall to another room. I open it, and if I need something, I buy it.” People just deny that they’re affected by something that isn’t logical or rational. Studies have actually shown that if you ask women to try on a swimsuit just for product testing and you ask men to do the same thing … if you ask them to sample some tea or different products and one of them is to try on a swimsuit, and this is privately in a dressing room … and to say what they think of it, afterwards if they tried on the swimsuit, they actually scored lower on a math test in a separate study. 32 Scientific American, January 2014 W hen psychologists try to understand the way our mind works, they frequently come to a conclusion that may seem startling: people often make decisions without having given them much thought—or, more precisely, before they I think things that we are capable of are really good visual kinds of things, reminders. That’s a great question, and I’m glad you’re giving me the chance to respond. John Bargh:        Oh, thank you, Roger. Hal Pashler, who created the site, has also reportedly tried to replicate Bargh’s study and failed. They drank like 30 drinks a month compared to 10. Only the most frequent responses were used as replacement words.” (i.e., as primes). Doyen told half of them that people would walk more slowly thanks to the power of priming, but he told the other half to expect faster walks. The Cognitive Revolution reintroduced the idea that you could actually study the conscious mind, the mind in the middle, and understand how it mediated, how it responded back to the world, and of course it does. By and large they do a great job, and that’s what they’re supposed to do, take a humdrum article and get people interested in it, but sometimes that can work against them. Roger Dooley:    Is there a way to counteract this affect, maybe by using some kind of a positive prime, maybe having images of famous female scientists or something? It took them on … Bargh has criticized the team's methodology, while others defend priming research. This advantage in processing was not due to proceduralization over experimental blocks. Introducing your host, Roger Dooley. First, he says that “there is no possible way” that the experimenter in his study could have primed the volunteers with his own expectations. It’s like we can’t tickle ourselves. Much of Bargh… They didn’t publish it until 1996. At the end of the day, the conclusion of the meta-analysis was it’s a real effect. Replicate, good times, come on! If you just happen to have them color in a picture of two girls playing with dolls … you know, their girl identity instead of their Asian one … now they do significantly worse on the math test. I mean, it was just a really silly time with behaviorism, saying our mind didn’t matter at all, but it was the first time we could start studying the human mind and thought and reactions to the world scientifically, with the scientific method. At the end of the day, when they did their meta-analysis, their conclusion was behavioral priming is a robust, reliable effect, that is stronger the more important the goal is for the individual. I just tell all parents out there, “You may have a great relationship with your kid, your toddler, but that warmth thing tells them. Bargh was influenced by the work of his PhD advisor at the University of Michigan, Robert Zajonc, who concentrated on the fundamental processes underlying behavior, including an emphasis on affect and cognition. The volunteers might have noticed, cancelling out the effect of the priming. It’s just too bad, but that’s actually true of a lot of our society now with fake news and everything else. Leave a Comment / Psychology / By Stephanie Morgan. This prompted Stephane Doyen and colleagues to try and repeat Bargh’s study. His latest book is “Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do.” Welcome to the show, John. (1996) paper from Pubpeer: (see below).. It confirmed what Bowlby said too and it confirmed our study too, so that warm/cold effect is there. Roger Dooley:    Great. John Bargh demonstrated behavioral priming effects in over 200 laboratory experiments over 30 years. That’s absolutely what would happen, right. Experiments on social priming usually work by comparing some measure (e.g. It helps them bond.” What they also find in research on kids to see how bonded they were with their mother or father at age one, at one year of age, predicts how many friends they have in grade school, predicts how well they get along in high school, predicts how many breakups they have in their 20s with relationships. John Bargh:        I think there has to be and there is. Roger Dooley:    Uh-huh. Psychologist John Bargh did an experiment with students at New York University where he asked the test group to do an activity matching words which were connected to old age- such as, “forgetful, bald, wrinkle”. In most cases, participants were unaware they were being primed. Those pictures on my desk … and I’d put her little drawings on the wall and things like that in my office. This is partly why I covered Doyen’s study in the first place. I’m on Amazon with my name, as an author. Consciousness of a priming event at the time information about the event is retrieved from memory is argued to make a qualitative difference as to the consequences of the prime for subsequent social judgments. (1996) paper from Pubpeer: (see below). (1990). There is a wider issue here. Experiment … Instead, we get an aggressive and frequently ill-founded attack at everyone involved in such an attempt. Let’s find all the behavioral priming and motivational priming studies,” and they found 350 or something like that, “and let’s see if there’s a real effect,” and I held my breath. Certainly some of the priming work was in that category. As John Bargh wrote in 1992, "subliminality of stimulus presentation, therefore, ... (or the semantic priming results not as small) as the published reports suggest. We used to think that we could do something, get ’em in first grade. We noticed that for so long in human history even, we talk about warm individuals and a warm family or a warm environment or a warm friend, or we talk about a cold father or a cold boss, and we all know what that means and why we use these words, hot and cold or warm and cold, as temperature words. The classic experiment has given rise to an entire field of priming research, but in the PLOS One paper, a team led by Belgian researcher Stephane Doyen could not replicate the results. Experiment 1 demonstrated that whether or not subjects can recall any of the priming … You know, I guess food ads are a pretty sort of obvious prime. To me, the sad part of all this is seeing researchers jerked around like puppets on a strong based on random … result as a successful replication of his finding, even though Bargh’s main effect did not (I assume) appear in Cesario et al.’s experiment, nor did Cesario et al.’s interaction appear in Bargh’s experiment. Bargh has criticized the team's methodology, while others defend priming research. Actually they mentioned this behavioral priming at the beginning that really got into the pharmaceutical research. John Bargh:        Roger, I really appreciate it. The results are eye-opening and jaw-dropping. The kids who saw these ads, three times more. Roger Dooley:    Yeah, no doubt. Neither Doyen nor I implicated that the entire concept of priming was illusory. In priming studies, relevant mental representations are activated in a subtle, unobtrusive manner in one phase of an experiment, and then, the unconscious, unintended effects of this activation are assessed in a He’s taken blood samples and found that hugs ramp up the oxytocin. In Bargh’s study, an experimenter had packed envelopes with one of two different word tasks (either elderly-related or neutral words). It’s something actually to watch out for. #psychology #priming #behavior, http://traffic.libsyn.com/neuro/BRAINFLUENCE244.mp3, How the Cootie Effect Can Reduce Virus Transmission, How One Simple Strategy Changed the Candy Industry, When Lead Generation Trumps Helping Customers | #FrictionHunter, 12 Cognitive Biases E-commerce Marketers Need to Know. We thank John Bargh, Wes Hutchinson, Blair Johnson, and Uri Simon-sohn for their helpful comments. The idea of a bright light, you know, being bright, that would work. He actually said this is an evolutionary kind of thing. It’s almost like you can’t have both. Not everybody was a big fan of that move, but there’s actually some science that you describe in the book that says maybe that’s a good idea, right? We started thinking, you know, interesting, because this very early experience of the infant with warmth, you have the physical warmth but it’s conflated with social warmth, with the fact that you can trust that person who’s holding you close or caring for you, so is there this connection? Doubters challenge the accuracy and implications of these experiments. You know, it’s not fair. There were three little 15-second or so commercials, and all we did was vary whether people saw food-related commercials or not. John’s response to the claim that over half of the famous social science studies can’t be replicated. 34 students were given a list of ten scrambled sentences, each up... Joining me for this episode, john Bargh: roger, I think there has to be and there.... 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