Discover more from Culturcidal by John Hawkins
What Have You Been Primed to See in America?
The subtle way they control what you think
One of the biggest myths that most of us buy into is that the things we believe are rock solid and generally unaffected by outside stimuli like the opinions of others, advertisements, and peer pressure. The truth is that many of us are extremely easy to influence in a lot of respects, particularly when it comes to our opinions of others or our mood. How easy? Well, there’s a very famous experiment that was done that will give you an idea:
In the October 24, 2008, issue of the journal Science, Yale University psychologists show that people judged others to be more generous and caring if they had just held a warm cup of coffee and less so if they had held an iced coffee. In a second study, they showed people are more likely to give something to others if they had just held something warm and more likely take something for themselves if they held something cold.
...To test their hypothesis about the importance of temperature, research assistants casually asked that the undergraduate test subjects briefly hold either a warm cup of coffee or iced coffee as they wrote down information. The subjects were then given a packet of information about an individual and then asked to assess his or her personality traits. The participants assessed the person as significantly “warmer” if they had previously held the warm cup of coffee rather than the iced cup of coffee. On personality scales unrelated to the trait of “warmth,” the researchers found no difference in how participants who held an iced, versus hot, coffee responded.
In the second study, participants held heated or frozen therapeutic packs as part of a product evaluation study and were then told they could receive a gift certificate for a friend or a gift for themselves. Those who held the hot pack were more likely to ask for the gift certificate, while those who held the frozen pack tended to keep the gift.
“It appears that the effect of physical temperature is not just on how we see others, it affects our own behavior as well,” Bargh said. “Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people, but also cause us to be warmer – more generous and trusting – as well.”
You might be surprised at how such small things can impact behavior, but you shouldn’t be. One really good compliment or rough insult can change how most people feel all day. So can hitting every green light on the way to work or hitting every red light and getting there 10 minutes late. Additionally, we know even seemingly insignificant things like wall color and music can have a big impact on behavior:
"Figures released in 2006 showed that when classical music was piped over loudspeakers in the London Underground, robberies dropped by 33 percent, assaults on staff by 25 percent, and vandalism of trains and stations by 37 percent." -- Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
We also can’t forget that classical psychology exercise that you can do right here, right now looking at this article. Try it. Take 30 seconds to look around the room and memorize every blue thing you see in the room. Make sure to try to count every last blue thing in that time. Go!
Did you finish counting all the blue things in the room? Okay, perfect! Now, how many red things did you see in the room?
Why did you see lots of blue things, not lots of red things? Because you were primed to see blue things. Well, guess what? Some people are primed to see “racism,” “sexism” and “homophobia,” so they see it all the time, even if they have to invent it. Some people are primed to see “evidence” that they’re trans or that Christians are bad or that conspiracy theorists are “right.” Unless you get beyond the way you’re primed, you have no hope of seeing objective reality.
Even the words used for something can change how people view it. That is why people who are against abortion say they are “pro-life” and people who are in favor of killing babies (see what I just did there) call it being “pro-choice.” Whether you call it an “inheritance tax” or a “death tax,” “dreamers” or “illegals,” or “trans healthcare” or “mutilating children,” makes a big difference in how people view different issues.
Over time, people can even be so used to seeing certain priming that it creates cognitive dissonance if the world doesn’t conform to their false mental map:
Cognitive dissonance is a term for the state of discomfort felt when two or more modes of thought contradict each other. The clashing cognitions may include ideas, beliefs, or the knowledge that one has behaved in a certain way.
This is part of the reason why you aren’t going to typically see Breitbart wildly praising Joe Biden, or the New York Times talk about how right Donald Trump was about something. It’s not that Biden or Trump are never right about things, it’s that people who’ve been primed to look at them as bad people feel such mental discomfort at having their beliefs challenged that they don’t even want to see articles that may make them reconsider how they think. It’s mentally uncomfortable for them.
Of course, even people that aren’t diehard partisans can be primed to see things a certain way. Why do you think social media websites have been so hellbent on cracking down on conservative content? Why do you think Google’s search results are heavily frontloaded with articles pushing liberal views on just about any subject? It’s because those social media companies have an agenda and they understand that if they can control what information you see and how you perceive it, they can shape what you believe.
In particular, liberals, do this obsessively. They’re constantly trying to silence sources that disagree with them and slant their coverage of certain topics to prime you to agree with them.
For example, many parents are terrified that their children could be killed in a school shooting and certainly, it does happen. However, it’s also an extraordinarily rare event. Why do people think it’s not an extraordinarily rare event? Because the media primes you to think that way by obsessively covering school shootings when they happen.
If you’re black and unarmed, what are your chances of being killed by a police officer? Statistically, almost zero. Of course, “almost zero” is not zero and because the media plays the same game, there are all sorts of black Americans who think they’re in terrible danger every time they get pulled over.
The media does this with all sorts of topics. Trans issues, global warming, white supremacism, you name it. Their goal is always to convince you that their positions, which are wildly out of touch with the country, are so widely popular that there’s no point in even challenging them.
This is also why liberals will claim that conservatives are “anti-science,” “racist” or “conspiracy theorists,” even though there’s no real evidence that there are more conservatives than liberals that fit these categories. If it’s repeated enough and the other side of the argument is suppressed hard enough, it just gets accepted as fact by a lot of the public, even if it has no basis in reality.
If all this is true, what’s your defense against it? Well, there are two actually.
The first is that brave souls who refuse to go along with the lie can pop the priming bubble. In other words, if everyone seems to agree, but one person steps up with an intelligent different perspective and lots of people start to go, “Wait, he’s making sense,” then that person can help other people start to see past the priming.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I am saying that one person can make a difference. However, it takes a sharp mind that can see an angle other people are missing and the moral courage to go against the hivemind, which unfortunately, is something that seems to be in short supply these days in America.
The second thing that generally makes it more difficult for the priming to work is the knowledge that it’s happening in the first place and now happily, YOU have that arrow in your quiver. Once you recognize that there are never-ending subtle attempts to push you in certain directions, you can stop just going with the flow and get much better at spotting the priming.
Once you start thinking this way, you will consider why people phrase things a certain way, why they leave certain pertinent pieces of information out, and what agenda they may have. Certainly, it’s okay to have an agenda and it’s okay to try to sell people on ideas, but if you are the target audience, you are always going to make much better decisions if you have a good understanding of how and why you are being primed – and guess what? Most of the time, you are being primed in some form or fashion.
If you take this one level higher and understand this concept well enough, you can even start PRIMING YOURSELF. For example, I have all sorts of things in my office designed to help me get more out of my life, including this sign directly above my computer monitor:
How do you want to be primed? With messages you create and see every day maybe in your office or on sticky notes you leave to yourself designed to make your life better or do you want to blank out and let everyone else prime you to be outraged, to buy their products, or to believe their spin?
Maybe before this article was published, you had never thought about it, realized what was going on, or understood that you had choices. Now you do. Knowledge is power. Use it wisely and don’t let them prime you to fall for their propaganda, consume their products, and spend your life spinning your wheels instead of really getting what you want.