PSYC 221 Priming in Psychology Assignment
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Blended Learning #1: Social Cognition & Research Design
“Priming” happens when a thought, image, emotion, memory, etc. becomes salient in the mind due to some internal or external stimulus. Spreading activation triggers related concepts in the mind after an initial schema has been primed. The following studies and resources detail experiments in “embodied cognition,” which is the process by which metaphors related to the physical world activate schemas in the interpersonal and social world.
Ackerman, J., Nocera, C. & Bargh, J. (2010). Incidental Haptic Sensations Influence Social Judgments and Decisions. Science, 328, 1712-1715.
Williams, L., & Bargh, J. (2008). Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth. Science, 322, 606-607.
For this assignment, choose from one of the following two options:
Option A: Imagine that you are a professor of social psychology, and you are in the process of designing an experiment. Your task is to devise a clever way of activating a thought/idea/etc. in someone’s mind (without explicitly saying it), which would then trigger the activation of another related concept. This concept MUST involve some aspect of social behavior, and cannot utilize an experimental design that involves simply reading a list of related words. Your write-up must include, in scientific language, an experiment that tests whether your priming strategy will work. Explain how you will operationalize your variables (independent & dependent) and what results you would expect to find. Be sure to explain what spreading activation is in plain English. Your proposal must be scientific, and must describe in detail at least 1 study/experiment that psychologists have performed on the topic (meaning, that you identify and describe the IV/DV conceptually and operationally).