Subliminal Perception

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My first understanding of subliminal perception came to me as a 9 year old while watching the film Josie and the Pussycats. In the movie a famous music producer uses subliminal messaging to change popular trends among teens every week. Underneath music tracks, this producer inserts information about what's cool to wear and who's cool to listen to. The teens buy into the trend because they are unaware that the messages behind the track are even there. The following is a scene from the movie where the music producer gives one of his newest tracks to an employee of a music store. Immediately after the playing the new song, the listeners of the store suddenly feel the urge to buy orange clothes instead of pink. Subliminally and unconsciously there are messages within the music telling people to buy orange clothes.

It took me until I was much older to understand what subliminal messaging is. Reading the Lilienfeld text clarified the concept of subliminal perception even more. We are subject to subliminal messaging when we process information of which we are unconscious. It's a tough concept to understand because it is difficult to figure out how we can know we process things subconsciously, but consciously are not aware of our own exposure to subliminal perception. Although it is difficult to comprehend, subliminal perception is an important concept to understand because it is something we are exposed to every single day. The amounts of advertisements we see, hear, and read about on a daily basis subconsciously affect the choices and decisions we make. If we can do such important thing like breath without conscious awareness being necessary, how many other decisions/thoughts do we have that also require no conscious awareness? How important are the subconscious decisions I make? Is subliminal perception necessary in any way?

The idea of subliminal messaging is just as frightening to me as it is fascinating. Thinking about this concept makes me wonder how often I fall prey to subliminal messages. I wish I could think of a personal and specific example of when my subliminal perception kicked in but as it is a completely subconscious occurrence, I can't recall any examples. Now I'm wondering what will happen if I start paying more attention to the idea of subliminal perception. Will I lose all sense of influence if I become aware of the influence's existence as the book suggests?

1 Comment

I'd never seen that movie before! Interesting idea...You ask some thoughtful questions. I think much of our behavior actually occurs at an unconscious/subconscious level..And I think that's okay and necessary for our survival. We make many decisions unconsciously. I think you will find Dr. Peterson's lecture on consciousness interesting. There is also an interesting video "The Secret You" that you might like. You can find it on youtube. It is about an hour long, but fascinating.

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This page contains a single entry by Shira published on September 28, 2011 10:14 PM.

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