Priming as a Process and as a Function in Agenda Setting

Gennadiy Chernov


This paper explores the priming mechanism in agenda setting in conjunction with information processing and other variables such as relevance and mental models. Over the years, certain confusion started to accumulate about what is a place of priming in the media effects realm in general and in agenda setting in particular. Moreover, new advances in the psychology studies of priming and in media priming were not accounted for in agenda setting. The paper aims at a) reviewing what developments in the field have taken place over the years, and b) revisiting and clarifying priming in its specific application to public agenda setting based on the new developments.

The paper concludes with a new working definition of priming and describes a more complex theoretical framework of priming that shows how mental models and relevance explain priming effects better than accessibility only in deliberative information processes, and that even in more automatic, peripheral processing, accessibility plays a role as only an initial trigger for further issue or performance evaluations.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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