Psychology illustrates cognitive priming, or semantic priming, as “a phenomenon where exposure to one stimulus influences our response to the next”. In simpler terms, what we observe and listen to can alter our judgment unexpectedly.

What is Cognitive Priming

Have you ever noticed that our present state of thoughts, attitudes, and actions can affect how we respond to new inputs? This phenomenon is called state-dependent learning: the idea that one’s mental environment influences their reactions to later events.

If you’re scared, your brain is more likely to perceive unclear circumstances as dangerous. On the other hand, if you are in a pleasant state of mind, then potential risks will appear far less intimidating and much more manageable.

We are cognitively priming when our current mental state influences how we perceive incoming information without us even realizing it or being able to control the process.

There are two main types of cognitive priming

The two types of cognitive priming are semantic priming and associative priming.

Semantic priming

When you’re exposed to a stimulus that activates specific concepts in your mind, it influences how you receive future information, which is known as semantic priming. If you are shown a picture of a happy face before taking a test, you are likelier to think the test is straightforward.

Associative priming

Associative priming is when exposure to a stimulus activates specific associations in your mind, affecting how you process subsequent information. For example, if you are shown a picture of a sad face before taking a test, you may be more likely to see the test as difficult and not worth doing.

Cognitive priming has been extensively researched in cognitive neuroscience’s brain imaging. Cognitive priming is thought to occur because exposure to stimuli (for example, a smiling face) activates neural circuits in the brain connected with the concept of “easy.” The neural networks started by the test significantly impact how our brains process new information.

How Cognitive Priming Works

A growing body of research continues to demonstrate the influence of cognitive priming on our behaviour. For instance, studies have found that individuals exposed to cheerful expressions before undertaking a test outdo those who weren’t presented with happy faces regarding their performance.

Cognitive priming is theorized to transpire from exposure to specific cues, like a smiling face. This leads to activating neural pathways in the brain associated with feeling joy and releasing dopamine – a neurotransmitter linked to heightening motivation and cognitive power.

In other words, our brain releases dopamine when we are exposed to anything that makes us happy (for example, a smiling face), which increases our cognition and motivation. This increase in cognitive function may enable us to do better in our tasks.

There are many different ways that cognitive priming can be used.

Why Cognitive priming is Important

It’s significant since it has the potential to help us increase our cognitive abilities. Exposure to positive images can help us learn new tasks more rapidly and correctly. Additionally, when faced with a problem or challenge, viewing positive visual stimuli may aid in devising a superior solution.

In addition to helping us improve our manifesting ability.

Cognitive priming and Manifestation

Cognitive priming can be a beneficial tool to help enhance our manifestation skills. To illustrate, if we wish to bring forth a new car into our reality, for instance, then visualizing images of the desired automobile will prime our minds for success. This will assist our mind in focusing on the car we desire, increasing the likelihood that we will take the necessary steps to manifest something we want.

Visualization and Cognitive Priming

Utilizing visualization in combination with cognitive priming can significantly bolster our manifestation potential. If we make an effort to picture ourselves behind the wheel of a desired car or taking advantage of a certain item, it’s that much more probable that we will take the necessary steps to turn this vision into reality.


National Library of Medicine

petri maatta, CEO
Petri Maatta

Petri Maatta is a photographer, filmmaker, and webdesigner who has been working for over 20 years in the creative industry. Fascinated by manifesting for business reasons, Petri was determined to find out what it took to create success. He started his career with seven years of business failures before he found success by learning about manifesting from a mentor with a Fortune 500 company. Today Petri shares his knowledge through DreamMaker courses designed to help people change their businesses and lives while living on their terms.

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