Finalist Sierra Roberge

“The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant.” This Quote stood out amongst the rest, and the reasoning I most agree with is the effect called “affective priming”. Affective Priming is what we feel when we read a word like “sunrise” and asked to judge whether this word is good or bad in a matter of seconds. Shortly following after “evil” may pop up and suddenly our reaction time changes, it is slowed down (250 milliseconds to respond) compared to “sunrise” which only took 200 milliseconds. Our valued judgment changes and we must adjust quickly to adapt to this change. “If the elephant leans even slightly to the left, as though preparing to take a step, the rider looks to the left and starts preparing to assist the elephant on its imminent leftward journey.” (p.66)


In life we feed off each other’s emotions. We don’t even realize our judgment intuitive and how it can be affected by one slight movement or word. One time at work I was waiting on a table, I didn’t have much of a judgment on them, they were just a family that asked for things more than other tables, sent food back to the kitchen if the slightest thing was wrong, and couldn’t show appreciation when I had gone out of the way to do something for them. A waiter confronted me about the table and immediately made a judgment about them, saying how annoying and needy they were, basically a real pain in the ass. I found this interesting that we had a similar experience and I immediately began agreeing with him (in a short amount of time, like judging a word as good or bad because you have no judgement on it yet.) I was feeding off of his emotions, which made me at fault. The waiter was joking about the family saying that they were actually

his aunts and uncles, and suddenly he gave me that look. That look that made you guilty of what you have just said. In this scenario the rider guided the elephant so abruptly to the left with the elephant’s intention to already step there, that the elephant fell over flat on his side.

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