MadSci Network: NeuroScience

Re: Subliminals

Area: NeuroScience
Posted By: Michael Onken, WashU
Date: Wed Apr 17 10:22:12 1996

Subliminal suggestion was invented by a Canadian advertising agent who sold the idea of interspersing suggestions, in the form of words or phrases, in a movie or television show such that each suggestion lasted for only a millisecond, and would be ignored by the conscious mind but influence the subconscious mind. Without asking for testing or proof, the companies he worked with paid the advertiser a lot of money for his idea, and promptly began using subliminal suggestion for their ad campaigns.

Since then, the man who invented subliminal suggestion has come out publically to say that he made the whole thing up as a way to make money, and has no doubt that it doesn't work. Several groups have tried to prove the value of subliminal suggestion, and none have shown any effect whatsoever! One of the most interesting tests was performed by one of the earlier companies to by subliminal suggestion:

During the showing of a movie, the word "telephone" was shown repeatedly as single frames spliced into the show. Afterward, the audience was asked to fill out a questionaire, which was compared to questionaires from audiences who saw the same movie without the subliminals. The people who saw the subliminal movie were no more interested in using a telephone than the control group, in fact, about the only thing that even remotely correlated to the subliminals was an increased desire to get a drink.

There are those who will argue that telephones make them thirsty, but many other controlled studies of subliminal suggestion have been performed, and the bottom line is: Subliminal Suggestion Does Not Work!

So, to answer your question, subliminals don't affect any part of the brain.

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