There’s tons of products out there that claim they’ll help you do this or that by using subliminal messages. That is, messages that are supposedly below your conscious awareness. They even say, right there on their websites, that you won’t hear anything.
Even if you take some of these audio files, and run them through something like Adobe Audition where you can crank up the scale and really see things on a microscopic level, you won’t see anything.
Does that mean they are really there? Consider that the human ear can only hear between about 12 and 20 HZ, or cycles per second. Anything below that, and it’s outside of the physical capacity of the ear to hear.
Does that mean that subliminals don’t work? The theory is that the sound is still there, but not perceived as sound. It somehow vibrates through the eardrum, and is picked up by the subconscious.
If this sounds a bit dodgy to you, then you’re not alone.
Visual “subliminal” messages, on the other hand, are incredibly effective. There’s the famous advertising case from the fifties where they supposedly showed images on a movie screen of Coke and popcorn, and flashed messages up saying things like “buy this.”
According to social lore, this caused a huge jump in sales. This was so effective that it was summarily outlawed by advertising. Does that mean it works?
Plenty of studies have shown that it does. Not just words, but images, when presented outside of our conscious awareness, can have an incredible impact on your decision making process. Even smells can make a difference.
In one particular experiment, subjects were in a waiting room before going into a room where they thought the real experiment was being done.
But the waiting room was actually the experiment. The split the subjects into two groups. One group was in a room that smelled like a normal room. Another group was in a room that smelled like cleaning supplies.
The group in the room that smelled like cleaning supplies tidied up after themselves much more effectively than the other group.
Plenty of other experiments have shown that images and words, when shown outside of the focal point of the test subjects’ vision, had a profound impact on their decision making process.
So the question of whether or not subliminal messages work is a resounding yes. But only if they are presented visually. Forget about buying those MP3’s that promise to make it easy to lose weight simply by listening to some relaxing sounds.
On the other hand, there are plenty of software programs out there that will flash positive messages on your computer screen while you’re working. Many people have had a good deal of success with these.
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