Real Life Inception

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Nearly everyone has seen Inception. When the movie came out in 2010, it was the talk of the entertainment world. It held such an original idea of using dreams within dreams within dreams to plant an idea in someone's head. What most people don't realize is that this idea isn't as futuristic as we expected. Obviously we aren't using hacking into each others' dreams, but inception in its truest form could be among us soon. In the article, "Product Placements on Social Media Sites Will 'Hack' into Your Memory" (2010) by Stuart Fox of, he explains how social networking sites like Facebook plan to start "Photoshopping product placement into personal pictures" of users. These ads will in turn implant commercials into your mind, affecting things such as brand loyalty.

Work has already been done by Elizabeth Loftus of the University of California, Irvine. She actually been able to make people willing to pay 20% less for a Disney toy by planting the idea in their brain that they had a bad experience with Pluto the dog as a child.

So how does this work? With the photo-inception, the subjects see a picture of themselves or friends. That photo subsequently contains the ad for whatever product. By relating a photo of yourself to that product, your mind will create false memories that you used that product and enjoyed it. And in the case of Loftus' work, she used text and spoken word to plant these memories. Often, this is accomplished by techniques like suggesting the opposite. David Schneider's "White Bear" study planted the idea of a white bear in participants' thoughts by telling them specifically not to think about a white bear. Loftus' work was more subtle, but applied similar techniques.

So it seems that inception is mainly used for negative reasons. My question is: Why not use it for something positive? At the end of the article, they briefly mention that it could be used for weight loss. By placing a person's face on a picture of a thinner person, and relating that thinness to a better diet, it could potentially make the person eat better and lose weight. I believe this should be used for educational purposes. Many children today simply don't want to study because they don't think it's cool or worth their time, and they would rather do something fun. So why not find a way to get kids to see the rewards of being smart and trying in school? Even college students could benefit from a little positive reinforcement to study every now and then.


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This page contains a single entry by lomme038 published on October 23, 2011 1:00 PM.

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