Published On: 26/06/2012|Categories: 2008–2012, Vol.33 (2), Vol.33 (2012)|


Why does the general demeanor of others change as soon as they begin to ‘talk shop’ or do something else that puts them into ‘work-mode’? We propose that such phenomena reflect an instance of incidental priming in which environmental cues activate actional ‘sets’ formed through extensive training in a particular domain (e.g., music). Accordingly, we demonstrated that, by activating a ‘musician set,’ incidental musically-related stimuli prime musicians to spend more time on a domain-irrelevant task rehearsing nonsense words as compared to controls or non-primed musicians, as this set should involve a tendency towards deliberative practice. This finding provides additional evidence for a central tenet of social cognition research—that the mere presence of ambient stimuli influences behavioral dispositions systematically, in ways that often escape one’s awareness.

Open Access