So as I was writing my senior seminar integrative paper connecting Matthew Shapiro’s colloqium talk with Jen Coane’s talk, I was going over a study that Jen talked about which had to do with the holiday spirit, so I thought it pertinent to share.
Priming the holiday spirit: persistent activation due to extraexperimental experiences.
In this study, Jen was interested in looking at “real world” priming of words associated with the holiday spirit. She postulated that since the words were being seen and rehearsed more often during their respective season, that there would be a higher rate of recall for the congruent words. She used a Lexical Decision Task (LDT) followed by a surprise free recall of words used in the task. She indeed did find that congruent words were recalled better and with a faster reaction time than incongruent words. It seems that these words are connected through semantic memory networks through similarity and co-occurrence.
So is there a biological basis for the holiday spirit after all? Who else gets a warm and fuzzy feeling hearing christmas songs starting the day after Thanksgiving??