Archive for March 5th, 2016

March 5, 2016

Kindness Priming

priming

pay it forward

Kindness priming is an affect-dependent cognitive effect in which subjects will display a positive affect following exposure to kindness. Individuals who are exposed to an act of kindness – the priming – subsequently notice more of the positive features of the world than they would otherwise. A person receiving a free voucher from a stranger, for example, may become more inclined to perceive the intentions of others around them as good.

It is hypothesized that kindness priming involves the same cognitive circuitry that enables memory priming. By activating neural representations of positive affect, an act of kindness stimulates increased activity in related associative networks. It is therefore more likely that subsequent stimuli will activate these related, positive networks, and so the positive affect continues to be carried forward in a feed forward manner. Additionally, kindness priming has also been shown to inoculate against negative stimuli in the short term, thus temporarily improving an individual’s resilience.

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