CHAPTER 14

Priming

There’s a terrific episode of Derren Brown’s TV series Mind Control1 in which he instructs a design agency to design a poster for a chain of taxidermy stores, including a new company name, a strap line and a logo. It’s all their choice. Ostensibly. Ultimately, they produce exactly the same name, logo and strapline that Derren has pre-prepared, sketched out and sealed in an envelope before the process started. It’s frightening and worth watching. And sorry for spoiling the ending.

In his recent masterpiece, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman outlines our two systems of thinking. “System 1” thinking is intuition: ancient, fast and non-conscious, influenced by knowledge, beliefs and emotion; “system 2” ...

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