Psych M.D. - Subliminal


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Term: Subliminal
Definition (Myers): Below one's absolute threshold for conscious awareness.₁
Definition (alternative): Below the threshold of conscious perception.₂
Contextual explanation:
Subliminal stimulation means literally below threshold, and they are not detectable by our conscious perception.

Subliminal messages have been a big issue in the past; there were many claims that these messages under our absolute threshold sent messages that would be unconsciously received. There has also been a widespread belief that these subliminal messages can actually unconsciously change our behavior.₃

Is this true?
Is it possible that we actually sense stimuli below our absolute thresholds?

The answer to this question is, in a way, yes.
The absolute threshold is when we detect the stimuli half the time. Thus, even if the stimuli is slightly below the threshold, we could still detect it partially.

However, the bigger question is, can we be affected by these weak stimuli?
An experiment was conducted where a subliminal image of positive or negative photos were flashed right before the participants were shown photos of people. Despite the fact that the participants only saw a flash of light(the subliminal message), the unconsciously picked it up and portrayed portraits of people shown after the positive subliminal message in a more favorable way compared to the negative one.
Thus, the answer may, again, be yes.

However, psychologists claim that these messages still cannot manipulate us with "hidden persuasion".₁

Related terms and concepts:


Psych M.D. - Subliminal - The Neuron

Psych M.D. - Subliminal - The Neuron


Related websites:
Sources:
  1. Myers, D.G. (2003). Psychology. New York City: Worth Publishers.
  2. (2009). Subliminal. Princeton University Wordnet. Retrieved (2009, October 15) from http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=subliminal
  3. (2009, February 23). Subliminal. Retrieved from http://www.skepdic.com/subliminal.html
  4. (2009, March 01). [Video Podcast]. Subliminal Messages. Retrieved from 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVrOFt-0-e0
  5. (n.d.). Subliminal Messages. Retrieved from http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/s/subliminal_messages.asp
Edited by: Kathy
Date of last edit: 10/15/2009



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