ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 844-854.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00844

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles    

Priming research in social psychology: Approaches and challenges

ZHANG Yue; XIN Ziqiang   

  1. (Department of Psychology at School of Social Development, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China)
  • Received:2015-09-15 Online:2016-05-15 Published:2016-05-15
  • Contact: XIN Ziqiang, E-mail:


Priming effect is rigorously defined as the effect that the former stimuli unconsciously influence the response in the subsequent irrelevant context, and the objects to prime should belong to cognitive representations or processes, such as concept or mindset. The concept of priming originated in the studies of cognitive psychology, and then Higgins introduced it to the studies of social psychology. There are three common types of experimental techniques of priming research in social psychology: conceptual priming, mindset priming, and sequential priming. Although a plethora of rather amazing findings were produced in the field of priming research, some important challenges about internal and external validity of priming studies should be addressed, such as experimenter effect and confusing the priming with the general experiment manipulation. Among these challenges, the greatest one is the replicability of priming results. Future studies should strive to solve these problems and explore the mechanism of priming.

Key words: priming, conceptual priming, mindset priming, sequential priming, construal level theory