Priming? Towel, Shower, Shampoo and So-p? Soup or Soap?

Everyone will choose soap as the right answer. This is because the priming effect occurs when an individual’s exposure to a certain stimulus influences his or her response to a subsequent stimulus, without any awareness of the connection.  

Units of information are stored in our long-term memory. These units van be activated by sights, smells and sounds. When they are activated our memory becomes easier to access. Priming suggests that related units or connected units are activated at the same time.

Types of priming

Positive and negative

This form of priming influences our processing speeds. Positive priming makes us process information faster and reduces the time required for memory retrieval. Negative priming, on the other hand, slows down information processing in our minds.


This occurs when we associate words in a logical way. For example: when I show you the word doctor, a moment later you will recognize the word nurse faster than the word lion because the two medical workers are closely associated in your mind.


This form of priming occurs when a stimulus and response are repeatedly paired.


This happens when stimuli have the similar form. For example the word “goat” will have a faster response when it is near the word “boat” because the two words are perceptual similar.

Some examples of priming

Red Bull makes you feel energetic and fast.

A Boston College study looked at the impact of logos on a video racing game. The racecars were branded with different company logos. Red Bull’s logo had already primed players to have more energy and be faster if they chose that particular brand. Whether this actually worked or not, the study showed consumers felt the Red Bull logo with wings could actually “give them wings” in the race and make them faster.

McDonald’s makes you feel happy and wanting to make a pit stop.

McDonald’s marketing always includes the golden arches. People associate the emblem with happy tunes and time with family and friends. When they are out and about and need a quick bite to eat, they naturally turn to the familiar golden arches when they see them. Even kids not older than two years will tell their parents to stop and have a break cause of those golden arches on the highway.

Priming is a very powerful tool marketers use to influence you unconsciously. You want to know more about neuromarketing?

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top