Subliminal messages are hidden messages that are planted in everything from the articles you read in a newspaper to your favorite TV shows and movies. Subliminal messages can both be verbal or visual, and often result in a change of behavior or thought process in viewers. Because of this, subliminal messages are often seen as deceptive or satanic. Some people believe that if you are unaware that you are hearing or seeing something that can influence you mind, it is a form of trickery. Subliminal messages have come under fire over the years precisely because of this reason, and the notion that subliminal messages can be very effective.
The actual effectiveness of subliminal messages is a topic that is still being researched today. In the past, subliminal messages were thought to be very effective, and some governments even put bans on using subliminal messages in things like advertisements and music. Subliminal messages are thought to bypass the often analytical and judgmental conscious mind and go straight to the unconscious, or subconscious, mind. The unconscious mind is more easily influenced and swayed, so subliminal messages that get through to the unconscious mind can have a real impact of behaviors and thoughts.
Subliminal messages can be very effective if they are done and planted correctly. The key to an effective subliminal message is its subtlety. Subliminal messages that are verbal should barely be audible to the human ear. Subliminal messages that are visual should be flashed so quickly that they are hardly recognizable. Subliminal messages also gain effectiveness when they are repeated multiple times. The mind tends to pick up and remember things better when multiple exposures have occurred. This is the reasoning behind advertisers using up to 10 exposures per product in any given commercial.
Some researchers believe that subliminal messages are particularly effective for those that believe in the power of subliminal messages. If someone thinks that something will work, not just limited to subliminal messages, the chances of the certain thing working increase. This idea also applies to subliminal messages. Even merely mentioning that subliminal messages are present in some medium will prompt the brain to seek out the subliminal messages and assign some meaning to them. This can occur even if there are no subliminal messages present. Research has shown that those who are told they will see subliminal messages will believe that they have seen one, even if there was not a subliminal message present. This placebo effect lends to the evidence that subliminal messages can be very effective, even when they aren’t necessarily being used.
The persuasiveness of the subliminal message also has a direct effect on how effective the message will be. Subliminal messages are often not as effective as supraliminal messages because they lack the powerful and outright effect that more direct messages can have. Research proves that while subliminal messages can have a short-term, fleeting effect on thinking, they are not necessarily effective for more long-term and serious issues. This means that, while a subliminal message may be effective in guiding someone to choose one brand of soda over another, they may not be very effective in helping people lose weight or stop smoking. These larger issues take much more direct prompting than a subtle suggestion made by a quick flash of an image.
The effectiveness of subliminal messages continues to be a topic that is consistently researched and written about. While subliminal messages once got a bad rap because of their powers to manipulate or dupe viewers, they have recently made a resurgence in advertising, movies and self-help products. The idea behind subliminal messages is that with multiple exposures, the mind can be swayed to think and behave in a way that is outside of the norm.