A subliminal message is a message that blurs the line between subjective and objective thresholds of awareness. A subliminal message is something that connects to your subconscious without you being aware of what is happening most of the time. How subliminal messages work is not exactly known, nor is it an exact science. Experimental psychologists have spent many decades trying to figure out exactly how subliminal messages affect the brain, and why they can be so powerful. The two thresholds of reality that experimental psychologists describe as the subjective threshold and the objective threshold of awareness refer to the detectable presence of certain stimuli. Processes have the opportunity to occur either consciously or unconsciously, as determined by the thresholds of awareness.
An example of a subliminal message would be a message that is reduced in volume or played backwards in a music recording. The messages are overlaid with a stimulus that masks the message, such as the music, is louder than the subliminal message. While the conscious mind will focus only on the louder and more outright music, the unconscious mind will pick up on the subliminal message and be influenced by the message. Subliminal messages can be a few minutes in length, or they can be short little glimpses of messages. It is said that subliminal messages are designed to manipulate people into behaving in ways they normally wouldn’t, or thinking about things differently than their normal thought processes.
Subliminal messages in advertising are perhaps the most widely controversial topic within the field because of the power that subliminal messages can have on consumers. Subliminal messages were the topic of much discussion throughout the 70s until the mid 90s when it was thought that there was a mass conspiracy among advertisers to manipulate consumers using subliminal messages in product advertisements.
Some people believe that subliminal messages work simply because it is known that they are in some advertisements and music recordings. This is based on the fact that if someone is told that something is happening or that something exists, they will be more likely to believe in it than if they were not aware of its existence. Experts believe that if you believe in something, it is more likely that you will experience results, even if the thing you believe in does not exist at all. This is said to be true of certain self-help tapes that claim to be laced with subliminal messages. Even if the tapes do not contain subliminal messages, the listeners believe they are getting some sort of benefit from hearing the supposed subliminal messages.
Exactly how subliminal messages work is still a mystery to most because the subject is still slightly taboo in today’s society. Most people see subliminal messages as deceptive or satanic because they believe that they are being duped or cheated into believe something that their conscious mind has no control over. At the same time, others revel in the help that subliminal messages can give them because subliminal messages connect to a part of the mind that is removed from the often analytical conscious mind. Still others believe that subliminal messages have no real affect on the mind, or at least no more of an affect than the thoughts that one’s mind can conjure up in their subconscious without any outside help.