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Semantic Priming

Let’s say we’re playing a game where I say a word, and you have to say the first word that comes to mind after hearing it.

I say doctor, you might say nurse.

You have been primed with the word doctor, and your natural response is to respond with a semantically related word such as nurse, or perhaps hospital.

Our brains work like this all day, indeed, when we try to solve problems, this is how our prefrontal cortex reasons.

The problem is, this kind of reasoning isn’t always the best way to come up with a solution. Sometimes we need to get the prefrontal cortex out of the way and be more creative, to think outside the box, so to speak.

Some people can do this naturally, but occasionally even they need help.

It turns out that this what alcohol and other mind-altering drugs do — they turn down the prefrontal cortex. There are lots of published studies illustrating this idea.

Maybe substances that slightly alter our conciousness aren’t so bad afterall.

Just food for thought.