Thursday, November 26, 2009

By Trevor Johnson

In answering this question how do subliminal messages work, the first thing we must find out is if subliminal messages do work. The answer depends on what kind, but there are some that work.

Flashing a simple word or image in front of an audience very quickly can have some effect on them, although you can't always predict what effect that will be. Other types of subliminal messaging don't appear to work at all. Playing recorded speech backwards doesn't have any effect, nor does trying to convey more complicated messages.

Subliminal messages are messages that are conveyed to the subconscious mind instead of the conscious. Usually this takes the form of showing a picture to people for no more than several milliseconds. This is faster than the conscious brain can perceive, but the subconscious perceives it, and it can effect a person's behavior.

Several studies about subliminal messaging can help us understand how it works. In one experiment subjects were shown the name of a soft drink for a very short amount of time. Afterwards they were more likely to choose that drink than the control group who had not received the message. In another experiment subjects were shown the word "beef." Surprisingly, this did not cause them to prefer beef afterwards, but it did make them hungrier than the control group.

There are now some companies that market subliminal messages. They record audio backwards, and sell these tapes to consumers, in order to help the with problems such as low self esteem. Regrettably, studies have not found any evidence that this works.

Even though some types of subliminal messaging does have an effect, there is no need to worry about what it might make you do. For one thing, companies do not use subliminal advertising on TV or in movies. Even if they did, they could never convince you to do something against your will. They might be able to influence your choice of one brand over another, but they could never make you do something you might not do anyway.

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