priming for social control

Catching up with my journal abstracts, I noticed this:

Rotteveel, M.; Phaf, R.H. (2004). Loading working memory enhances affective priming. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11. 11, 2, 326-331(6).
Abstract: Stronger affective priming (Murphy & Zajonc, 1993) with suboptimal (i.e., reduced consciousness) than with optimal (i.e., full consciousness) prime presentation suggests that nonconscious processes form an important part of emotions. Merikle and Joordens (1997) have argued that both impoverished presentation and divided attention can produce suboptimal conditions and result in parallel effects. We manipulated attention by means of a concurrent working memory load while keeping presentation duration constant, as participants evaluated Japanese ideographs that were preceded by happy,neutral, or angry faces (affective priming) and male or female faces (nonaffective priming). In contrast to nonaffective priming, affective priming was larger with divided attention than with focused attention. It is concluded that manipulations of stimulus quality and of attention can both be used to probe the distinction between conscious and nonconscious processes and that the highest chances of obtaining the pattern of stronger priming with suboptimal presentation than with optimal presentation occur in the affective domain.

Which I can’t help thinking implies: if you want to pull people’s emotional strings (without them knowing it) then you should keep them busy.

Call me a social-control conspiracist, but i think this is another good reason for us all to spend more time sitting down with a cup of tea and less time working to keep the economy going