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How do subliminal messages affect the brain and behavior?


    Because people are exposed to subliminal messaging, there is a possibility that their thoughts and actions will be drastically changed as a direct consequence. Subliminal signals can affect a person’s current mood, level of motivation, and even political ideas. This is because all of these factors are vulnerable to being impacted.

    It is a well-known fact that people’s decisions, such as who they vote for in an election, may be influenced by factors such as information that is provided in a way that is subconscious to the individual. However, for this effect to be employed in a scenario in real life, these signals need to be stored for long-term utilization after just a few instances of exposure to the effect.

    The prototypical instance of this phenomenon is a person who repeatedly watches an advertisement on television and then goes to the store to buy the advertised product. Even though the communications may include “complex relational information that requires semantic integration,” such as “politician X will lower the taxes,” they must still be kept. It is only because people can communicate with one another that these messages can be incorporated into a person’s decision-making process. This is because people can semantically integrate and store these pieces of information, which can be retrieved for later decision-making.

    Earlier studies showed that subliminal stimulation might unintentionally change decision-making when the subliminal stimuli consisted of everyday items. This was the case even when familiarity with the stimuli was maintained. Furthermore, this was the case regardless of whether or not the objects’ familiarity was stressed in the study.


    How do subliminal messages affect the brain and behavior?

    A priming study, for instance, discovered that subliminal primes supplied the correct responses to relevant targets when participants were asked to do a categorization task. This was observed when the participants were asked to conduct a priming task. There was also obvious bias in the responses provided by the participants during “free choice” tests, in which they were given the flexibility to pick between numerous answer possibilities.

    In these tests, the participants were asked to provide their honest opinion. These prior experiments have provided sufficient data to support the concept that subliminal signals may be absorbed accidentally and may have the capacity to influence choices and alternatives.

    However, not nearly enough research has been done to conclude whether or not the information presented subliminally is stored in long-term memory and can influence delayed decisions. This study aimed to determine whether or not the combination of subliminal stimuli would influence delayed decision-making by looking into the question.

    Within the scope of the current investigation, two tests were carried out to determine whether or not the use of subliminal messaging may impact the method of delaying a choice. The researchers conducted their first experiment to determine whether or not subliminal presentations of face–occupation pairs would influence future conscious evaluations of the income of the identical faces. This investigation considered the effects of delays of both 15 and 25 minutes. The participants were then shown a face and tasked with evaluating whether the individual shown had a high or low income based on the characteristics of the person depicted.

    The second experiment that the researchers conducted explored whether or not “new vocabulary of a foreign language is acquired subliminally affecting later lexical semantic decisions on the same foreign words.” At this point, the method has been updated to add the wait of twenty minutes. Following that, the participants were given the job of deciding whether the words shown on the screen were correct or erroneous translations. In each investigation, an encoding phase came first, followed by a delay period, and then a decision-making phase came last.

    The encoding phase may have included face-occupation or translated words (high or low income and correct or incorrect translation). The choice task given throughout the testing phase served as a medium for an indirect or implicit memory test made available to the participants. The participants were not given any information regarding the nature of the research to facilitate an accurate evaluation of subliminal messages unaffected by the participants’ conscious processing of any subliminal signals. This was the primary reason for not providing the participants with any knowledge regarding the nature of the research.

    It was previously assumed that the influence of subliminal messaging only lasted for a short time; however, the study’s results show this is not the case. In every single one of the experiments, the subconscious cue’s influence remained consistent throughout the delay times. The findings of the first experiment showed that subliminal messaging influenced participant replies regarding the income of a face they had seen before, and this effect was shown for both delays and immediate payouts (15 and 20 minutes).

    A subliminal presentation influenced the participants in the second experiment after 20 minutes, and their decisions were influenced by whether or not a translation was correct. This study’s results indicate that only exposure to new subliminal information is sufficient to influence delayed decision-making for at least as long as 25 minutes.

    It is necessary for future research to study the application of subliminal messaging, especially in settings other than advertising, which is thoroughly researched and documented. In particular, it is important to investigate the applicability of subliminal messaging in the context of video games.

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