Dictionary.com has this to say about the word subliminal
“existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the behaviour of the individual: a subliminal stimulus; subliminal advertising.”
And there in lies the fear that many have, that subliminal appeals to the mind below the conscious, that they have no control over what it says or what it is encouraging them to do.
What is subliminal messaging?
Subliminal messaging works as the definition says, by using stimuli to talk directly to the subconscious mind, rather than normal advertising which will talk to you on a conscious level. The way that it does this is by employing techniques that don't take your conscious attention, that only get registered in your mind, not processed by your thoughts.
There are numerous ways of doing this, and many have been heavily used by advertising companies to try sell their products or create a certain 'feel' or branding. The most famous of these instances took place in the 1950's where a pioneer called James Vicary took a film real and added in a number of 'stills' that said “eat popcorn and drink coke”. These stills would only last a split second and no one watching the film were aware that it was happening.
But there was a direct correlation between them watching and an increase in the sale of popcorn and coke at the movie theatre. And that is what subliminal messaging is able to do... it 'suggests' ideas and thoughts to a person, thoughts they take to be their own.
In advertising this can be dangerous. Whilst it will never make someone do what they don't want or believe in it can make ideas for things you might consider appear as if they are your own. Which is why, in the 1970's, the Federal Government put a ban on subliminal advertising, to curb the growing worry that advertising companies were trying to force sales by using people's subconscious.
It Can Be Useful
But despite all the fear that surrounds subliminal messaging there is actually a lot of good that it can do, it doesn't have to be used to simply try sell products.
Because subliminal messaging talks directly to the subconscious, planting ideas in our mind, it can be used for positive reinforcement, to help change your thinking for the better. When considering this it is important that you remember such messages can't make you do what you don't want to do, but they can help reinforce changes that you want to make.
Whether it is trying to give up smoking or change your thinking to more positive aspects subliminal messaging, that you choose to put there, can help reinforce that want for change and allow you to make a real difference.
Subliminal messaging is a powerful tool that can cause problems, if not actually being dangerous, but when targeted to the right methods it can do people a lot of good.
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