School of Business
priming, leadership, rhetoric, Ronald Reagan, communication, communication theory, John Bargh, repetition, schema, goals, unity, self-view
Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business and Corporate Communications | Communication | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Organizational Communication | Psychology | Social Influence and Political Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies
Sakai, Katherine, "Priming in Leadership: Applying Communication Theory to the Speeches of Ronald Reagan" (2021). Senior Honors Theses. 1065.
The study of priming gained traction in the 1990s when researchers such as John Bargh demonstrated the nonconscious activation of ideas, often through repeated related words or activated schema. Since then, researchers have studied the effects of priming on self-view, achievement, and teamwork. While the concept of priming has just recently begun to be applied to leadership in the workplace, no research has yet been done in finding examples of priming theory in the speeches of well-known leaders. In this study, Ronald Reagan’s persuasive tactics were analyzed and found to use similar methods of repetition and schema used in priming experiments and can be classified as priming in the areas of self-view, goals, and unity.
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