This study investigated whether nonconscious priming can affect the communicative quality of narratives. In two experiments, narrators were primed with words associated with helpfulness or unhelpfulness, and then, in an apparently unrelated task, read and retold a short story to addressees. In Experiment 1, the narrator provided a spoken description, and we also manipulated whether the narrator retold the story to the addressee or to a microphone. In Experiment 2, the narrator provided a written description. In both experiments, narrators primed with helpful words took longer to read the story and provided retellings that were rated to be higher quality than narrators primed with unhelpful words. We propose that priming the concept of helpfulness influences the processes involved in message construction.
- Nonconscious priming