What do we prime? On distinguishing between semantic priming, procedural priming, and goal priming.

Jens Förster, Nira Liberman, Ronald S. Friedman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines how the various effects of priming differ from one another. It describes different types of priming—priming of semantic constructs, priming of procedures, and priming of behaviors and goals—then proposes ways of distinguishing between them. Primed goals differ from primed procedures and primed semantic constructs in a number of ways. First, goals have a different pattern of persistence and decay (or deactivation) than both procedures and semantic constructs. Second, effects of primed goals should be sensitive to expectancy and value, whereas, the effects of primed semantic constructs and primed procedures should not show such sensitivity. Third, means-ends associations, which constitute the goal systems do not always correspond to semantic or overlearned associations. As a result, patterns of lateral inhibition and asymmetries in spreading activation (i.e., the fan effect) differ between goal systems and semantic associations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford handbook of human action.
EditorsEzequiel Morsella, John A. Bargh, Peter M. Gollwitzer
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, US
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)0195309987 , 9780195309980
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameSocial cognition and social neuroscience.


  • Goal Orientation
  • Priming
  • Semantic Priming
  • Associative Processes


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