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Priming in Health Campaign Messages

  • By: James D. Robinson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

When a message impacts how an individual responds to a future stimulus, scholars refer to this process as “priming.” As an implicit memory effect, when priming occurs, individuals are not aware that their behavior is being influenced by the message presentation. This makes priming different but related to what is typically considered persuasive effects. In persuasion, there is generally some level of consciousness and consideration of messages. In priming, the effects occur below the level of awareness.

The concept of priming is grounded in cognitive psychology and was used to describe how information is stored, accessed, and represented in individuals' minds. In many ways, priming can be thought of as cognitive exercise. Exposure to information necessitates some effort to understand and store that information, which calls ...

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