Preparing and Motivating Behavior Outside of Awareness

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Science  21 Mar 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5870, pp. 1639
DOI: 10.1126/science.1150432

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The mere activation of the idea of a behavioral act moves the human body without the person consciously deciding to take action. In an experiment, we showed that people subliminally primed with the concept of exertion were faster to squeeze a hand grip forcefully but expended more effort when the subliminal primes were directly accompanied by consciously visible positive stimuli. These findings demonstrate the human capacity to rely on mental processes in preparing and motivating behavior outside of awareness.

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