Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Counter Clockwise by Ellen J. Langer is a provocative book on health. Langer encourages us to question our assumptions about health diagnosis and aging, as well as about other areas of our life. She introduced me to the concept of priming. According to Wikipedia:“Priming in psychology occurs when an earlier stimulus influences response to a later stimulus.” Here is Langer’s description:
Much of what we have learned…was learned mindlessly as we uncritically accepted information without thinking about it, often because the information was given to us by an authority or was initially irrelevant. Even if it is to our advantage to rethink the information at some point, it simply doesn’t occur to us to do so. This makes us vulnerable to the effects of priming….The way priming works is to trigger ideas we have mindlessly committed ourselves to without awareness…

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