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Choice architecture

Choice architecture

Conceptual & Associative Priming

“Subtle cues subconsciously influence our thoughts, feelings and behavior”

Our brain is fundamentally associative. Each time we have an experience, a huge neural associative representation is activated (e.g. moon: reading this word sets off a series of associations like night, white, wolf and illusion). This neural representation overlaps with related representations (e.g. seeing a table will also activate parts of the neural network representing chair).

Because of this spreading and overlapping activation in our brain, others can use specific ‘stimuli’ to pre-activate specific behavior they want to see from us (e.g. buying). The desired behavior is then already partially activated, requiring less

Repetition & Direct Priming

“Repetition helps us learn and react both quicker and easier”
The more we repeat something, the easier we process, remember and act on it. Repetition simply smoothens our neural pathways. Repetition is also called ‘direct priming’ since each repetition also ‘primes’ later experiences, leading to quicker and more intense reactions (or slower in the rare case of negative priming).

There are two direct priming effects. First, there is a very brief ‘lexical effect’: each repetition activates it’s representation in our brain. Then that activation slowly ‘fades away’. This way, the experience remains ‘primed’ during the fading period (usually a few seconds),

Peak-end rule

“The ending and the highest peak of an experience, determine how we remember it”
The peak-end rule is our tendency, when judging an experience, to judge this experience (pleasant or unpleasant) almost entirely on how it was at it’s peak, as well as how it ended. Other information, while not lost, is not used in the qualitative memory of the event (i.e. extension neglect and duration neglect).

Scientific research example:
In a study with real patients, patients underwent a colonoscopy (a painful medical procedure). For Patient A, the pain was shorter, but more intense. Patient B experienced the same type of pain,

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