Open Access Honors Program Thesis
Priming is a term in psychology that refers to the unconscious activation of internal mental knowledge structures, such as trait concepts and stereotypes or mental representations of a stored idea, by specific details in the surrounding external environment (Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996). This thesis conceptually replicated a priming experiment that used "old age" themed words in a sentence task to slow the walking speed of participants leaving the experimental room (Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996). In the replication attempt University of Northern Iowa alumni themed posters were placed along a walking path near Rod Library on the UNI campus. The experimental condition featured three "old age" themed posters with "old age" related words and images of alumni with an average graduating year of 1959. The control condition featured three "medium age" themed posters with "young, fast" related words and images of alumni with an average graduating year of 1991. Those who viewed the "old age" posters walked significantly slower than those who viewed the "medium age" posters and those who did not view the "medium age" posters. The average walking speed of the "old age" group (6.62 seconds) was also closer to the preferred minimal cost walking speed (Browning, Baker, Herron & Kram, 2006) in humans (1.40m/s or 6.53 seconds across 30 ft) compared to the "medium age" posters (6.22 seconds).
Year of Submission
Department of Psychology
University Honors Designation
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors
1 PDF file (44 pages)
©2013 Patrick Michael Tiernan
Tiernan, Patrick Michael, "The Role of Imagery in the Priming of a Mental Construct" (2013). Honors Program Theses. 598.