Priming Experiment

March 18, 2011

In an attempt at priming the unsuspecting public, I conducted an experiment to control the unaware participants semantic network of association and focus them on things related to France. I used several images placed on the journey to university that were associated with France, things such as the tricolour flag, an image of the eiffel tower and some stereotypical illustrations of a man in a blue and white striped top holding a baguette. I then stopped people to ask them to complete a survey.

I asked the participants to answer the following questions without thinking about it and as quickly as they could. As a control and a warm up to answering questions, I asked them to name a vegetable and a number. I then asked them to name a city in Europe with the aim that most people would say ‘Paris’

The results so far have shown that only 35.7% answered ‘Paris’, the other 64.3% answered with other cities.

The results could have been contaminated by several factors, The main one being the rain. The vast majority of people walking past me had there eyes down with a disgruntled look on their face, moving quickly and seemly preoccupied with how lousy the weather was. The rain could have also washed away some of my primers, although this isn’t confirmed. Another factor was that many of the people that answered ‘London’ as a city in Europe stated that they had just returned last night from a student trip to the city, and so was probably a ‘hot topic’ amongst conversation.

Still though out of the hundreds of cities people could choose, 35.7% choosing the one that I had primed them to think of seems unlikely to be a coincidence

Further testing is required before announcing that this process of creating a semantic network of association with imagery does or doesnt work.


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