In the elevator on their way to the lab, a member of the study team (who knew what they needed to do, but not why) would casually ask the participant to hold their coffee. The team member would then write down some information about the participant, then get their coffee back. They’d all hold it somewhere between 10 and 25 seconds. For half the participants the coffee was hot, for the other half the coffee was cold. That’s the only difference.
Here’s where it gets interesting. In the lab, all the participants read the same
brief description of a person. They then rated this person’s personality traits using a questionnaire. The people who’d held hot coffee for those few seconds in the elevator rated the person as more generous, happier, better natured and more social than those who’d held cold coffee. People who’d held the cold cup were more likely to say the person was unhappy, irritable and selfish. Remember, there’s absolutely no difference in what they read, but how they reacted to it was significantly different. The strangest part? They had no idea they’d been primed.
Conquer the morning and you will conquer the day.