In the mammoth tome that is (I'm not finished with it yet btw) Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, presents profound perspectives on intuition and thinking generally. He suggests that there are two forces at play when we think: "System 1" which does fast, impulsive thinking, and "System 2" which does our slow, calculated thinking. These two systems influence each other, and ultimately, the thoughts we have, the way we think, the associations we make, our actions, and pretty much everything else we do.
One of the most fascinating things Kahneman talks about in the book (I've read so far) is a phenomenon called priming.
He states of priming: "If you have recently seen or heard the word EAT, you are temporarily more likely to complete the word fragment SO_P as SOUP than as SOAP. The opposite would happen, of course, if you had just seen WASH. We call this a priming effect and say that the idea of EAT primes the idea of SOUP, and that WASH primes SOAP."
There are a variety of ways that priming effects are employed intentionally and it has been studied widely. In one famous example called the "Florida effect", young people were presented with vocabulary related to elderly people, and immediately after they walked more slowly. Thoughts of elderly people, it has been proven, cause us to move slower than normal. Interestingly though, if somebody hates old people, it actually causes them to move faster. Crazy.
It makes me wonder how this affects my day-to-day life. How is priming being used by other parties (advertisers, etc.) to influence my behavior? How am I subconsciously altering my behavior based on the stimuli I'm exposed to? How can I employ priming to get people to engage more when The Pizza Bats perform, and how can we get people to put more money in our jar? I look forward to reading the rest of the book and putting its concepts to work.