When the Same Prime Leads to Different Effects

When the Same Prime Leads to Different Effects

By
S. Christian Wheeler, Jonah Berger
Journal of Consumer Research. October
2007, Vol. 34, Issue 3, Pages 357-368

Research on priming effects has shown that primes with widely shared associations (i.e., stereotypes) affect the subsequent behavior of people in consistent ways (i.e., acting stereotypically). In this article, we present two experiments that show that the same primed construct can have different effects on the subsequent choices of different groups of people. These differences in effects are attributable to the groups having different prime associations. These results highlight the importance of understanding unique, personal associations to primes and suggest that segmentation is also important for predicting nonconsciously influenced choices.