I have recently read A Practicum in TESOL by Graham Crookes, Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classrooms by Jack Richards and Charles Lockhart, and am currently reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. One thing that both Crookes and Richards discussed, chapter four and chapter six respectively, is the framing or opening of a classroom lesson. This is something I have been thinking about in relation to Kahneman's work which talks about human judgement, intuition and decision making. It is quite fascinating and is the inspiration for my master's thesis question on anchoring student goals and study behaviors as well. The reason I bring up Kahneman's work here is that he devotes an entire chapter to the "priming effect".
The priming effect is basically a human reaction to a stimulus that people may or may not be aware of and how the they act subsequently. For instance, if a person is shown a high number, like 144, and then asked to guess the age of Gandhi when he died, they will on average guess a higher age than if they were not "primed" first. When I read about this psychological effect, I immediately began thinking about ways to use it in the classroom and the opening or framing of a lesson is what sticks out the most.
One of the most salient ways this idea could be applicable is by priming students to be in a good mood upon entering the classroom. This could be done with the use of funny or cute pictures on the overhead. By priming students with the picture and inducing a better mood, their creativity, intuition, and cognitive ease would all be better situated to learn. Cute pictures of babies and animals seem like the easiest way, as I have read that studies demonstrate this can release oxytocin in the brain and therefore activate the "love hormone", essentially putting you in a better mood by manipulating your hormones.
It's difficult to say just how well this particular approach would work, but it does seem logical from my readings that if I can successfully put the students in a good mood, whether with pictures or some other method yet to be thought of, upon entering the class they will be primed to learn better and also think better of me as a teacher, which itself would improve learning through the "halo effect", also discussed Kahneman's book.
Overall, the priming effect would seem as though it has huge implications for the classroom by a knowledgeable teacher.