Deceiving MessagesWhen we think about subliminal perception we usually think of a big publicity stunt for a company. What many people dont know is that subliminal perception can really be effective. Any person might say, Naw, I cant fall for that Im not stupid enough to fall into their trap. For most other cases subliminal perception will attack a person in their sub-conscious state of mind. In one form or anther, subliminal perception takes many forms. It could be presented in an audio, visual, and in the most likely places we dont tend to find subliminal perception.
What is subliminal perception? Messages, that are either visual or audio, that are below a persons perceptible threshold. The messages that the brain would be receiving would be ones that the conscious mind would not notice at first. It would take the person to view or hear the same message over and over again before it being revealed to the conscious mind. With some people the messages are loud and clear the first time the message is sent to them.
The first time any type of subliminal message was seen was reported in the late 1950s. This happened in a New Jersey movie theater. During the showing of a movie the theater flashed in one third of a millisecond, Eat popcorn and Drink Coke(Eskenazi, Greenwald, Pratkins 252). For that millisecond the audience in the theater was effected. Sales of popcorn and coke increased significantly.
This sparked up controversy in the television and radio community. All major television and radio stations banned subliminal advertising. Then it was later found out that this was all just a publicity stunt to promote the theater.Todays subliminal messaging is now as obvious as flashing words on a screen.
One must observe closely to what the true hidden meaning of the advertisement is. Many times people can not find anything subliminal about an advertisement at all. As the old saying says, Sex sells, it really does sell. Most modern day marketing is focusing on sex.In a way all advertisements have some way of delivering a secret message. If one thinks about it the logos on the clothes we wear have some kind of secret message.May it be noticeable the first time or not, there is something hidden.
When one looks at a box of Wheaties cereal a person sees a famous athlete on the cover. This sends a message that says eat this cereal and you can become a super star baseball player. By having the famous athlete on the box their sales increase.All advertisements deliver something hidden. An example that John A. Bargh states:The Microsoft ad hopes that the subliminal image if the Bill of Rights will activate the viewers concepts of the dangers of government interference in the private sector, and that those concepts will influence viewers opinions about Microsoft and its products (par 10).
These subliminal messages have more than one purpose for Microsoft. Microsoft, being the grand and powerful corporation that it is, wants to not only promote the government from interfering, but also want to sell a few products while theyre at it.One needs to observe closely to find the real meaning of the message. At times it can be positive or negative and it can even have no real purpose. Some people may see it some may not. Because after all subliminal thresholds are not universal(Vaidyanathan par.
3).The most popular places we tend to see visual perception are in our every day lives. The billboard we see day after day on the freeway does not change.
A driver never really has time to stare and read what it has to say, but if a person saw that same billboard for a long period of time the person could have picked up piece by piece on what the billboard had to say. Continuing with the billboard theory if a male saw a sexy female on a billboard and it read some kind of exotic name the male would obviously be sold that it would be a strip club that would be advertising and the male would be sold. Why? Because sex sells.The most effective place that visual perception is found is in television commercials. In a recent Swensens ice cream commercial the imprint that the scoop left behind was that of a female figure and also with sexy music in the background. So the commercial was using sex to sell its product. This was an obvious case of subliminal advertising.
The most recent controversial visual form was in the recent presidential elections in which George W. Bush uses subliminal messages to promote his campaign. In one thirtith of a second flashing the word RATS (Advertising Age par.
1). This got Bush in a lot of trouble. The RATS the commercial was referring to are bureaucrats the Bush was against at that time (Welsh par.
2). In a way his campaign commercial was effective. He did end up wining the election by not much. At the same time this commercial made him lose some votes because it contained hidden messages that are supposed to be banned from television.There are different methods of visual perception.
There are two main methods that are the ones most commonly used. The Tachistocopic imaging is the on that most people refer to when thinking of subliminal messaging. This is the method that uses the flashing words for less than a second is. This was the method that was used with the eat popcorn and eat coke scandal and its what Bush used in his commercial. This is the simplest form of subliminal perception.Embedded images are the images that are hidden within a picture or a package. If a person was to look at a pack of Marlboro cigarettes one will notice that on three sides of the package there are three Ks on it.
This has been interpreted to be related with the Ku Klux Klan. Another example was in the Disney movie the Lion King the scene when the stars take shape to spell out the word sex. These are the ones that are really hidden and must be looked at carefully to be seen in full effect (Vaidyanathan par. 3).
As well as visual there are audio methods of perception. Backmasked speech is the process in which a song or speech are played backwards to reveal a secret message. One minute a person can be saying one thing that has nothing to do with another and the next its played backwards to reveal a secret message. Several famous music artists have been accused of using this to send secret messages to its listeners. Among the artist accused are Queen, Judist Priest, and The Beetles. In the case of Queen, the songs chorus another one bites the dust played backwards, says, Its fun to smoke marijuana (Vaidyanathan par.
4). There is also sub-audible perception. This form uses speech that will send a message hidden with a normal speech. When played back at a slower rate the hidden message can be heard.
The final method is accelerated speech perception. This is normal speech with a hidden message when played back at a faster rate.Most of the time subliminal perception will not always work. Most of the time people will not even notice these messages. Some people may have never heard of Queens message in his song. One thing for sure is that we should always be aware of what messages we are receiving and what are their intentions. We should always be aware not to fall in the trap of subliminal perception.
If we do we have fallen into our subconscious threshold.Works CitedBargh, John A. The Most Powerful Manipulative Messages are Hiding in Plain Sight. Chronicle of Higher Education. B6(1999)45:21Mejia, Lorenzo. Personal Interview.
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