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How does subliminal messaging work?

  1. Aug 10, 2007 #1
    How does subliminal messaging work? I know in a video they would have one frame dedicated to it but you don't directly catch it. But how do they put stuff into music where you hear nothing? Like the music that is supposed to help someone stop smoking cigarettes.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 10, 2007 #2
    I had a friend who was big on making his own subliminal tapes. He recorded his own voice at low volumes while recording music at normal volumes.
  4. Aug 10, 2007 #3
    Ok, I thought there was little bit more too it then that. Thanks.
  5. Aug 11, 2007 #4
  6. Aug 13, 2007 #5


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    That was similar to my thought on this as well...the first question needs to be does it work, rather than how does it work.
  7. Aug 26, 2007 #6
    My understanding from psych class is that it doesn't work in the way people usually think of.

    However, there is something called "priming." If you see a word like "duck" and then are asked to read aloud a second word, you'll read "quack" faster than "bark". This is true even if the word "duck" is presented so quickly that you aren't aware of having seen it. You could even present the word "duck" aurally.

    Some labs have lately been claiming evidence of more complex priming. For instance, if you spend some time thinking about your mother, you'll do better on a trivia came, supposedly because thinking about your mother makes you want to do well. A lot of this work has been done at Yale: http://www.yale.edu/psychology/FacInfo/Bargh.html.

    There's a lot of evidence for it, so I supose it's true, but I still have trouble believing it. One of these days, I'll probably try to replicate some of those findings at my Web-based lab: http://coglanglab.org.

    But as far as fitting in a message like "smoke less" into the background of a Mariah Carey song, I don't think there's evidence that it works.

  8. Aug 26, 2007 #7
    I'd have to agree with Ardalin. I believe there are also ways one can use subtle colour/light and sounds as just a basic stimulous that may provoke a certain general reaction in people. Fast Food restaurants supposedly use certain colour schemes that induce a desire to hurry up and leave though consciously we may only perceive the colours as cheerful and bright. I'm not sure if this would fall under subliminal messaging though.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2007
  9. Aug 26, 2007 #8
    Yeah, I think priming is completely real and can be repeatedly demonstrated:

    You ask "How do you pronounce F-O-L-K?"

    People proceed to pronounce it.

    Then you ask "What is the white part of an egg called?"

    Most people say "Yolk!"

    Doing this deliberately to someone constitutes manipulating them without their knowing it, which is what we fear about subliminal messaging, but the means is quite a bit different, so it's not what should be called "subliminal messaging".
  10. Sep 2, 2007 #9
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