Do you feel any different after reading the words above? You might not think so, but chances are they will affect your behavior.
In an experiment conducted by John Bargh, two groups of students were asked to create sentences. One group was given words associated with old age (like the ones above) to create their sentences. The other group was given random words.
The real experiment had nothing to do with the students’ ability to create sentences. After completing what they thought was the “experiment”, the test subjects were asked to walk down a hallway to an office. As Daniel Kahneman writes in Thinking, Fast and Slow, “…the young people who had fashioned a sentence from words with an elderly theme walked down the hallway significantly more slowly than the others.”
This psychological concept is called priming. With what words are we surrounding ourselves? Are we subconsciously walking slowly down the hallway?