A subliminal message is used in marketing as a way to advertise and influence people in the choices they make without them being aware of it.
They are usually delivered or broadcast in two different ways either as an image that is flashed before you quickly enough to go unnoticed by the human eye or as an audio message that has been embedded within a track of music.
In both cases the image or message should be undetectable by the listener or viewer.
Both of these methods for delivery should be transmitted to a person below the threshold of perception.
If the subliminal messages are delivered via audio, the messages should be inaudible to the listener and bypass the conscious mind but be able to be registered by the subconscious.
If the subliminal messages are being broadcast via movies, tv or film, the image flashed before them should not be visually perceived but the subconscious mind should be able to register them.
The participants should not be aware of any of the incoming messages.
The one golden criteria is that the communication bypasses the conscious mind.
Sub (Below) Liminal (Line) information sent below the threshold of conscious awareness.
Although most definitions of a subliminal as shown above will state that the ‘sub’ part means below and ‘liminal’ the line of consciousness, this is really only half the story.
Because something below the line of consciousness is somewhat confusing.
Most people believe that for something to be subliminal it must be hidden from view.
But that is not always the case.
Something that can be seen or heard but is not consciously noticed is still subliminal in nature and can have an influence over us and generate the same effect.
It is one of the reasons why advertisers run advertising campaigns i.e. they need to ensure that people are exposed to enough repetitions so that the message is consciously ignored but subconsciously accepted.
Repetition is essential for the message to be eventually ignored by the conscious mind and for it to stop filtering it out.
When that happens the message bypasses the conscious mind and goes directly to the subconscious.
Even though it can be seen or heard it is ignored but absorbed, becoming subliminal in nature.
On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to embed a signal or subliminal stimuli in such a way that it is hidden from the conscious mind but can be perceived by the subconscious mind.
This last example is what most people understand to be subliminal in the traditional sense.
This distinction can be confusing but it is important in understanding what constitutes subliminal.
The medium in which a subliminal message can be conveyed is as diverse as the means by which humans can communicate with each other.
For example, images, sounds, touch, smell and perhaps even taste. The five human senses.
In a way hypnosis and NLP use techniques that are subliminal.
This manipulative technique has been used in advertising for years and some say the government themselves have been guilty of actively using its innate power to coax the masses into submission essentially brainwashing them.
So to answer the question what are subliminal messages a subliminal message when done correctly uses auditory or visual stimulus embedded into a normal communication of information to transmit or broadcast an idea in such a way as to not consciously alert the receiver.
This is achieved by presenting the audio or visual stimulus below the normal limits of perception i.e. hearing or seeing.
The conscious mind may not hear or see something but the subconscious mind perceives it. For example, when an image is transmitted or broadcast so briefly that the conscious mind cannot register it but the subconscious mind can.
Similarly, an auditory message can be broadcast beneath the sound of a backing track in such a way as to not be heard by the conscious listener but which penetrates into the listeners deeper subconscious mind.
Although we tend to think of the human brain as one, it is in fact made up of three evolutionary brains (reptilian, mammalian and neocortex) which together form two integrated minds (conscious and subconscious) that make up the whole.
A subliminal message is a signal designed to pass below (sub) the normal line (liminal) of perception between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
In effect anything that has the power to move us (motivate) – without us being aware.
What Does Subliminal Mean
Sub means below and liminal means simply the line. The line refers to consciousness. So, in reality, anything subliminal is merely something that can penetrate the mind below the threshold of consciousness.
Because we are bombarded by trillions of bits of information on a daily basis, the conscious mind has developed the ability to filter ‘non-important’ information. This allows us to concentrate on what we think is more useful to our survival rather than being side-tracked by unessential information overload.
The fact that we do not notice something does not mean that we are not aware of it. In the sense that our being is aware of it but we ourselves are not consciously aware of it.
In effect, this means that whenever we are distracted by ‘more important’ things – everything else becomes ‘subliminal’.
The message does not need to be hidden as such – it only needs to connect with us without our awareness. For instance, specific fonts and colors can elicit certain feelings or emotions within the reader that can impart a sense of trust or mistrust, calmness, excitability or danger.
The color red is often used in signposts to ward off intruders or to bring to the attention that there is danger ahead, it elicits a feeling of danger or an immediate threat in some cases.
Similarly, certain imagery can suggest certain relationships or prime basic emotional reactions – e.g. sexual desirability can be associated with a product or person or thing.
Really the distraction of the conscious mind is the key to subliminals – because when we remove the conscious filters, based perhaps on mistaken beliefs or negative thinking, we are able to access directly the subconscious mind.
And once inside it is possible to implant new thoughts, new ways of doing things and even new belief systems.
Our beliefs – our thoughts – our actions, are based on our map of the world – built up over time and which allows us to navigate life as best we can but the map is not the reality and in many cases, the map is positively wrong.
History Of Subliminal Messages
It would seem that the Greeks were the first that we know of to actually use fragments of words or speech embedded in “rhetoric” as a way of influencing people.
So as far back as the fifth century, The Ancient Greeks were using slight, almost imperceptible emphasis on certain words or words with different meanings to impart the kind of persuasive speech that many of the world’s great orators such as Lincoln and Churchill have used to persuade the masses.
In 1897, Dr. E.W. Scripture, Ph.D. then the director of the Yale Psychology Lab published a book called The New Psychology. In it, he talked for the first time about some basic principles regarding subtle persuasion that could be employed by embedding hidden messages.
Later, American psychologist Harry Levi Hollingworth wrote that advertisers could potentially use subliminal messages to impact sales.
During World War II the machine called the tachistoscope was invented to help pilots recognize enemy planes. It worked by very briefly flashing pictures of enemy airplanes.
However, it was not until 1957 that the term ‘subliminal messages’ first became known to the wider public through a purported experiment that took place in a New Jersey movie theatre.
It was claimed that the projection of the words “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Hungry? Eat popcorn” using a tachistoscope for 1/3000 of a second at five-second intervals resulted in increased sales by significant amounts.
Although James Vicary who founded a company called the Subliminal Projection Company and coined the phrase ‘subliminal advertising‘ he later claimed that the experiment was a hoax, it led to a public outcry about the potential uses of such technology and was subsequently banned in many countries.
There have been numerous instances since then of a claimed or real use of subliminal messages.
However, all have been put down to technical glitches, mistakes or otherwise inadvertent embedding.
It is a little wonder of course, as the use of such subliminal messages would not only be illegal, they would supposedly not work – so what would be the point.
It is interesting to note that although the original experiment by James Vicary was later claimed to be a hoax, in 2007, a recreation of the same experiment was made to mark its 50th anniversary.
The findings of the International Brand Marketing Conference MARKA 2007 in which 1,400 delegates took part by watching the opening credits of the original film Picnic were, to say the least interesting.
Of those exposed, 81% chose a brand that was subliminally broadcast over one that was not.
Today, subliminal messages are widely known and found in advertising and various other media used to manipulate or persuade people.
But what is important to know is that they can’t make us do anything we don’t already want to do and we must want to pursue the same goals consciously for them to work.
In the field of self-help, it has been shown by psychologists such as Lloyd Silverman that smokers who want to quit are five times more likely to succeed after having been exposed to subliminal messages tailored to that end.
Also, some other studies have shown that exposure to subliminal messages can lead to real improvements in IQ levels as well as academic performance.
We have only glimpsed the tip of the iceberg in terms of the human mind and perhaps the power of subliminal messages.
Do Subliminal Messages Actually Work
The Forces That Control And Motivate Us
Subliminal messages work by bypassing the conscious and penetrating the subconscious mind with affirmations that invoke or encourage new ways of thinking and changing perception.
Although not conclusively proven to work it is thought that subliminal messages gain their potential value by being able to bypass the critical filters of the conscious mind’s awareness.
This would allow information that was perhaps contrary to what the conscious mind believes and therefore filters out, to nonetheless penetrate through into the subconscious mind.
For example, a person wishing to diet, presented with the statement or affirmation stating that they are slim and trim, might reject that with their conscious mind as being blatantly untrue.
Affirmations work on the principle that what one hears or sees repeatedly eventually becomes established as fact in the mind and leads in turn to created reality.
Subliminally broadcasting these same affirmations would, however, leave the conscious mind unable to criticize such statements or affirmations and leave it defenseless in rebutting them.
Over time, constant repetition through the interactivity between the subconscious and conscious mind brings about different thought patterns that reflect what statements or affirmations were broadcast and absorbed.
Akin to suggestion or persuasion in such techniques such as hypnosis or neuro-linguistic programming, these suggestions are directed to the subjects deeper mind and are not so easily refused or rejected.
Due to the non-cognitive nature of subliminal’s the presentation of the message can be repeated many more times than in traditional methods before boredom sets in.
The Effectiveness And Potent Potential Subliminal Messages Can Have On The Mind
Although the controversy regarding whether subliminal stimuli or messages are effective or not rages on, there is a considerable amount of evidence that we can and do register such stimuli in the brain and that this can affect us emotionally as well as intellectually at a subconscious level.
Discounted as hocus pocus in the past, new technologies such as magnetic image resonance imaging have finally proved beyond doubt that the brain if nothing else registers and responds to such stimuli.
In weighing up the evidence it is important to remember that the mind still remains for science and researchers very much uncharted territory and its workings mostly a mystery.
First Modern Public Example
The first modern public example of the use of subliminal messages is reputable to have occurred during the movie Picnic in 1957 in a New Jersey drive-in theatre at Fort Lee. Later repudiated as a hoax by its supposed perpetrator James VICARY and his Subliminal Projection Co., Inc., a tachistoscope was used to flash for 1/3000th of a second the words ‘DRINK COKE COLA’ and ‘Hungry? EAT POPCORN’. Vicary claimed sale increased 58% and 18% for Coke and popcorn respectively.
Although only a publicity stunt and the brainchild of New York market researcher Vicary, the claim caused a public outcry and was severely denounced by the American press, CBS and The Television Board of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Although legislation introduced in Congress to prohibit the use of subliminal messages the bills died in committee.
In Australia and Great Britain however, subliminal advertising is banned.
So although Vicary claimed the amount of data was too small at first and later that it never happened at all, the fact remains that subliminal messages broadcast to the public are banned in some countries to this day.
Since then various studies and research have been done regarding subliminal messages but due to the difficulty in defining what is subliminal, as well as measuring any such influence, has led to a whole range of disparate research results.
Difficulties in creating baselines for the threshold of perception together with what constitutes an ‘influence’ has left the subject controversial.
But overall throughout the hundreds of studies done in the intervening years, it has been shown that information is capable of informing people’s decisions and actions even when they have not experienced an awareness of perceiving a message.
It is only relatively recently that brain scan technology has been able to give us irrefutable proof that some kind of activity or reaction actually takes place in the brain. Before that, it was really open to speculation whether researchers were actually seeing results or were looking too hard to prove their theories.
The first problem for researchers in this field is determining the threshold of perception. Do they use objective thresholds or subjective ones?
Usually, the subjective threshold is 30 to 50 milliseconds lower than the objective threshold.
It would appear that what is considered to be ‘below the threshold of conscious perception’ may influence substantially the outcome of such experiments i.e. whether a subjective or objective threshold is used can vary results.
But one thing is sure, the longer the exposure the better the result above chance.
Methods Of Testing
Once a threshold has been set then researchers need to calibrate what will be regarded as a ‘reaction’.
Each experiment creates its own methodology and depends on many variables and factors including whether it is an auditory or visual stimulus and what is considered a valid positive ‘reaction’.
However, it has been positively demonstrated to prime individual responses and stimulate mild emotional activity but only where an individual was already likely to pursue such an activity prior to the stimuli.
This is much like hypnosis and other language-based behavior modification methods.
What potentially sets it apart from those other thought manipulation techniques, is its covert qualities, where someone does not need to either pay attention or even be ‘aware’ for the persuasiveness of the message to be taken on board.
Although research in this area has been fairly widespread the results and findings have been patchy at best.
This is perhaps a reflection of our current knowledge regarding the human brain and perhaps our ability to successfully test something which is really outside our field of understanding.
What is sure is that the brain does react internally but what we are unable to say is in what ways and for what reasons.
Using Subliminal Messages On Yourself
Harnessing The Power And Potential
Subliminal messaging can be an incredibly powerful way to enter the subconscious mind to make positive changes, learn how to use them effectively.
By bypassing the conscious mind and logical reasoning we can create long-lasting and effective personal change.
Many of us wish to change bad habits or hardwired internal programming that affect us in a negative way, this can be incredibly difficult to achieve consciously.
The subconscious mind is responsible for storing the mapping or the blueprint of who we are and holds the key to our ability to make these changes easily.
In order to make dramatic differences in our lives, we need to find a way to enter the subconscious mind so we can reprogram ourselves to think and behave differently.
By entering the subconscious mind and replacing old programming with new programming we can essentially change the very fabric of who we are and how we think.
Using subliminal messages is an effective and unique technique that allows us to do just that, it enables us to manipulate and change the blueprint of our incredibly deep and complex minds.
For many years subliminal messaging has been used by many people to achieve incredible results, many of the world’s most successful people have used subliminal programming to achieve their goals and to create wonderful lives for themselves.
We all have the ability to change and to see the world with new eyes but in order to achieve this, we first must begin to explore the vast uncharted territories of our incredible subconscious mind.
Subliminal messaging gives us the key and the tool to explore these far-reaching plains.
This technique can be used to change any area of your life, whether you wish to have more confidence or to believe that you are indeed attractive to the opposite sex it is all possible.
We are all exposed to different forms of subliminal messaging every day, whether it be on TV, what’s on the radio, music, fashion trends they all have a direct influence on our subconscious mind and how we perceive the world around us, guiding and molding us into the person we are today.
The way you see the world today is as a result of your life’s experiences, the society that you have grown accustomed too and the laws and rules that govern that society, you are a product of the conditioning that the world around you has imposed upon you.
Subliminal messaging is used every day to influence your decisions and the choices that you make from the clothes you wear to the car you drive to the music that you listen too.
We all possess vast untapped reserves of incredible creative ability, we can be whoever we want to be, we can have whatever it is that we desire, we simply need to BELIEVE.
When used by others to manipulate us, subliminal messages are usually directed and aimed at one of our two primal instincts – desire or fear.
This is because these core desires and fears are at the heart of every human being and are what drives most people’s unconscious behavior.
This unconscious behavior is perhaps responsible for much more of our mental patterns than we may at first realize.
Using such core or base instincts allows them to more readily slip under our conscious radar and they do not need complex messages to succeed.
Manipulation can use very simple archetypal symbols or concepts to convey profound changes in behavior.
There are many companies and products available that purport to offer ways for people to change their thoughts and behavior patterns and whether this is a placebo effect or not – in many cases people have reported good results.
This means that the use of subliminal messages may one day be a great new technology for people to change their habits and to improve and reset their personal blueprint.
Using this method we can change the map of our self allowing us to become more productive in our lives.
In the end, like many things in life whether subliminal messaging exists or even works can sometimes be subjective.
Influenced by the very belief systems and preconceived notions we have built up and acquired over our lives to help protect us.
But whether through the placebo effect or because they really do have the ability to penetrate right to the core of our being, subliminal messages hold out a unique and possibly amazing way for humans to re-program themselves to be better people and in the end, to create a better world. (more positive all around)
We hope you are sufficiently interested and want to try this new technology for yourself.
Only YOU can make that decision because only YOU have the prerogative to create the life you want and desire.
When used by OURSELVES we can use these same techniques to create equally profound changes in our own beliefs, feelings, and actions which amount to big changes in our behavior.
The law of attraction teaches us that what we seek the most and desire from life will eventually come to fruition but we first must truly believe in that which we seek.
For our dreams or aspirations to become a reality we must first align ourselves correctly with our own spirit and the universe, all of which begins within the mind.
Benefits Of Subliminal Messages
Using Them For Your Own Advantage
The benefits are obvious, direct access to the subconscious can be very powerful because the filter of our conscious mind is circumvented. The conscious mind acts as a filter, a logic processor that interprets and deciphers input before allowing it to be given meaning. When there is no filter to appraise or evaluate input, thoughts and concepts can be implanted deep within the mind without scrutiny or analysis.
Subliminal messages, when used for our own good as opposed to someone else’s, should not be underestimated. The fact that subliminal messages can penetrate the block or filters of the conscious mind and go directly to the subconscious is a powerful tool in personal transformation.
When used in conjunction with positive empowering affirmations together with the innate ability that subliminals have to transcend boredom this can lead to dramatic and profound change.
What is contained within the subconscious is usually used by the conscious mind to evaluate what new experiences it encounters and is given a lot of weight in deciding how to interpret this new information. In effect what is contained within the subconscious is almost tantamount to belief or at least a mindset.
By bypassing the conscious mind and implanting positive messages we can create a positive self-image of ourselves.
Subliminal Messages And Self Help
Subliminal messages if they work could be a great boon to mankind. Apart from any nefarious applications, the fact that people’s thoughts and actions could be modified by such a simple technology would make them highly valuable to mankind if we could unleash their full power.
People for whatever reason can adopt negative self-limiting beliefs about themselves which lead them to negative actions and behaviors. If only we could break these bad habits and negative thoughts, replacing them with empowering uplifting and positive ones then we might have attained the holy grail of self-help and personal growth.
When To Use Subliminal Messages
When you realize that there is something deep inside you that is sabotaging your behavior and making you do things that are not in your best interests then perhaps it is time to consider using subliminal messages as a method to try and address those issues.
By simply pressing play on a subliminal recording and allowing pleasant music to play in the background you may be surprised at how effective subliminal programming can be.
The subliminal messages and recordings offered on this site are an incredible resource and possibility for you to change your internal programming.