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Experiencing Psychological Processes and Understanding their Implications
Unformatted Document Text:  6 The list needs to contain the numbers 14, 18, and 24 as many times as possible without being too obvious. After reading the list of numbers, ask the volunteer to "Name a vegetable." Hopefully, they will say carrot. The premise of the demonstration is that the numbers 14, 18, and 24 are common karat weights of gold. Since the sound of the word karat is the same as the word carrot, the repeated "pings" on karat increase its accessibility, and because of the similarity in pronunciation, the word carrot is also made more accessible. When the student volunteer is then asked to name a vegetable, carrot is the name of the most accessible vegetable. Figure 1 shows how this is consistent with associative network and spreading activation models of memory. As constructs are accessed in memory, they become more salient, the come closer to the "top of the head" or the "tip of your tongue." In addition to the words themselves, accessing a memory also raises the activation of linked memory constructs. It is a bit like plucking a string on a web; the area touched moves the most and attached areas move less. The farther away (e.g. the number of nodes that have to be crossed), the less the memory is activated. Thus figure 1 shows the many mentions of 14, 18, and 24 activating those nodes with the heavy line connecting them. The activation energy spreads to related nodes including the words karat and gold. The increase in activation diminishes for each step away from the numbers. Then when the volunteer is asked to search her/his memory for a vegetable, there is one possible answer that has been activated more recently, but increasing its chance to be given as the answer. Automatic effects like accessibility are strongest when people are under a heavy cognitive load. Asking them to answer the question as quickly as they can creates a cognitive load. Accessibility has several applications in political science. One of the best-known applications is in the area of priming as accessibility is the mechanism that Iyengar &

Authors: Transue, John.
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6
The list needs to contain the numbers 14, 18, and 24 as many times as possible without
being too obvious. After reading the list of numbers, ask the volunteer to "Name a
vegetable." Hopefully, they will say carrot. The premise of the demonstration is that the
numbers 14, 18, and 24 are common karat weights of gold. Since the sound of the word
karat is the same as the word carrot, the repeated "pings" on karat increase its
accessibility, and because of the similarity in pronunciation, the word carrot is also
made more accessible. When the student volunteer is then asked to name a vegetable,
carrot is the name of the most accessible vegetable.
Figure 1 shows how this is consistent with associative network and spreading
activation models of memory. As constructs are accessed in memory, they become more
salient, the come closer to the "top of the head" or the "tip of your tongue." In addition
to the words themselves, accessing a memory also raises the activation of linked
memory constructs. It is a bit like plucking a string on a web; the area touched moves
the most and attached areas move less. The farther away (e.g. the number of nodes that
have to be crossed), the less the memory is activated. Thus figure 1 shows the many
mentions of 14, 18, and 24 activating those nodes with the heavy line connecting them.
The activation energy spreads to related nodes including the words karat and gold. The
increase in activation diminishes for each step away from the numbers. Then when the
volunteer is asked to search her/his memory for a vegetable, there is one possible
answer that has been activated more recently, but increasing its chance to be given as
the answer. Automatic effects like accessibility are strongest when people are under a
heavy cognitive load. Asking them to answer the question as quickly as they can creates
a cognitive load.
Accessibility has several applications in political science. One of the best-known
applications is in the area of priming as accessibility is the mechanism that Iyengar &


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