Associative Activation

. Associative activation involves the deliberate use of a word to trigger many other ideas; in a spreading cascade of activity in your brain.

. It is linked with coherence and called associative coherence, ie each element is connected and each supports and strengthens the other. The word evokes memories, which evoke emotion, which invokes facial expressions and other reactions like tensing up and avoidance tendency. The facial expression and the avoidance motion intensify feelings to which they are linked, and feelings in turn reinforce compatible ideas. It is a self-reinforcing pattern of cognitive, emotional and physical responses.

" linking the words in a casual story; it elevated the possible threat (mild to moderate) and created a context of future developments by preparing you for events that have just become more likely..."

Daniel Kahneman, 2012

"...You think with your body, not only with your brain..."

Daniel Kahneman, 2012

. This is linked with association of ideas, ie ideas follow each other in our conscious mind in a fairly orderly way. According to David Hume (18th century), there are 3 elements of association, ie resemblance, contiguity in time and place, and causality.

. An idea can be expressed in various ways:

- as an abstract or concrete concept

- as a verb, noun, adjective, etc

- via body language, e.g. a clenched fist

. Associative memory involves each idea being linked to many others. Some links include

- cause and effect

- properties

- categories

. Sometimes this is referred to as priming, ie using a word or concept or idea to prime other concepts or ideas or behaviours. Ideomotor effect is used to describe the influence on an action by the idea and/or gesture and/or environment. For example, the use of words like fragile, bald, forgetful, grey, lonely, wrinkled, etc can make people who hear those words behave as if they are old - even though the word "old" has not been spoken.

. Your actions and emotions can be primed by events of which you are not even aware.

. It has been demonstrated that using the word money as a primer promotes individualism; there is an observable reluctance

- to be involved with others

- to depend on others

- accept demands from others

. Our routine focus of the brain

"...provides impressions that often turn into your beliefs and is the source of the impulses that become your choices and your actions. It offers a tacit interpretation of what happens to you and around you, linking the present with the recent past and with expectations about the near future..."

Daniel Kahneman, 2012


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