Subliminal message

subliminal message she is one or message designed to happen underneath (sub) of the normal limits of perception. It can be for example, inaudible for the conscious but audible mind for the unconscious or deep mind; it also can be a transmitted image of a so brief way that it happens unnoticed even so through the conscious mind but, perceived unconsciously. This definition assumes a division between conscious and the unconscious thing, lending itself to the confusion. He would be better to say than the subliminal message (sound or image) is perceived by the deepest parts of the mind, conceived like a single integrated organization.

In the daily life, often one affirms (with or without evidence) that is used subliminal techniques with advertising intentions and of propaganda.

Table of contents

Origin of the term

The term subliminal message it was popularized in a book of titleholder The Hidden Persuaders, of Vance Packard. This book detailed to a carried out study in the cinema Fort Lee (New Jersey) in which supposedly had been inserted orders to drink Coca-Cola and to eat pop corn, with increases in the sales during the intervals. And although years later the same author of the study, James Vicary denied the veracity of the experiment, the wick was ignited.

In , the book of Wilson Bryan Key Subliminal Seduction it proclaimed that the subliminal techniques were being used widely in the publicity. The text, contributed to climax general of fear next to novels of Orwell, about the subliminal messages. The popular preoccupation arrived at an end so to take to the FCC (FCC) to declare the subliminal publicity, "opposite to the public interest", by its deceptive intention.


Against the popular belief that the subliminal messages are used as average of massive influence, the evidence makes specific on the matter is enough very. Beyond of their ' use artísticó, does not exist tests that perceivable changes in the listener or the spectator take place able to make consume to these spectators a product, or change their ideas; the general consensus between the professionals of the marketing research indicates that the subliminal publicity is not effective and even can be, counter-productive. The underlying theory of the subliminal messages is erased often of . Anyway the concept is very popular between the theoreticians of the conspiracy and most of the people who live in zones saturated by means (like the United States), it is familiarized with the term.

A scientific study approaches of the subliminal publicity, became that the subjects on which this study was made associated words that appeared in the screen of a computer to a set (the sets were del good, bad, cold style, warms up...). As well, and with determined advance or delay in the time, other words were exposed of form publicity. The study demonstrated that, although when the subliminal word not coincidia in the same category that perceivable the failures increased clearly of significant form, the separation between the subliminal message and the visible word in the time had to be very small (of the order of tenth of second), reason why the application of the subliminal publicity would not be effective.

From certain sectors of the society, declarations have been listened to about subliminal messages in several forms of popular entertainment. We can mention like example hijueputa, the supposed messages invested in the songs of . The preservative activist Donald Wildmon said that the company inserted word "SEX" (sex) in its film King Leon. The authorities in general have ignored these proclamations due to the doubtful reputation of their authors.
Another example appeared in the film The Rescatadores, also of Walt Disney, in whom in a photogram she appeared a woman in . To see it connects with the image.


The perception or subliminal cognition can be considered like a subgroup of cognition unconscious, that includes abilities such as the one to concentrate in a signal in individual in a noisy atmosphere, while unconsciously attention to other signals (like a voice in a full hall people) is lent, and other automatically made tasks (like driving a vehicle).

In all these cases, it was investigated on whatever of the signal outside the atencional center is perceived unconsciously: is perceived the message complete, or only partially or simplified? There are at least two involved schools of thought. One of them argues that only the simplest aspects of the signal are perceived; although it is necessary to notice that the made tests were concentrated in their majority in the simplest aspects of the knowledge, and not in the complete understanding. The second school declares that cognition unconscious she is comprehensive and that is plus the perceived thing that the verbalizado thing.

Studies have been carried out numerous on the unconscious perception. For example on anestesiados patients, and apparently slept and unconscious, it has been possible to determine (using technical hints to arrive at its memories) who remembered fragments of the happened thing while they had been anestesiados.

Of similar way, studies in patients with neurological damage who claimed to be incapable to perceive certain stimuli, showed that they could respond such. For example in cases of "blind vision", the patients unconsciously perceive stimuli in areas of their vision that believed damaged.

The subliminal messages would gain influence power since the barriers of the conscious mind could skip; one has said even that the unconscious suggestion is by this more powerful than the conscious suggestion. These forms of suggestion would be obtained through or autosuggestion, and when taking to the person to states of deep relaxation, in which the messages could reach influenciables parts of the same one; some observers argued that the mind is incapable to critically reject the inserted messages of unconscious way. But the investigations have not demonstrated that the subliminal suggestion is particularly useful.

The technology of the subliminal messages has evolved enough, as in the case of "hemisphonic technologies" of the Institute Monroe (to see connection in the end) and used others in situations of the real life like the fast and exhaustive training of men in the Armed Forces, for the recognition of boats and foreign airplanes. The studies suggest it effectiveness of this type of CDs or tapes, are influenced fundamentally by the expectations of the people with respect to the results. (effect placebo).

Subliminal messages and Publicity

A form of subliminal publicity that commonly is believed in use, is to insert "hidden" messages in films and programs of TV. The human brain perceives one illusion of movement when a series of images to a reason of 23 to 30 pictures per second projects. The theory suggests to introduce until a picture per second with the subliminal message. Even though not outside perceivable consciously, it would be sufficient to obtain changes of conduct in the spectator.

With respect to the use of these techniques in publicity, there are no concrete tests of a use maintained or serious of the same ones to influence to the masses. As it were already said the consensus between the professionals of the marketing research discredits this technique; or it is to consider it effective, little little ethical, or mainly by the rupture of public relations that its adoption would imply to eat by the ass to its mother.

External liaisons


  • Subliminal Perception: The nature of to controversy, N.F.Dixon, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1971.
  • Psychological Investigations of Unconscious Perception, Journal of Consciousness Studies, P.M Merikle and M. Daneman, 1998.
  • New Look 3: Unconscious Cognition Reclaimed, American Psychologist, 47, Anthony W. Greenwald, 1992.
  • Holender, D. (1986). Semantic activation without conscious identification in dichotic listening, visual parafoveal vision, and masking: To appraisal survey and. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 9, 1-23.


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