Julielani Chang, Davis, California asked:
My name is Julielani Chang and I live in Davis, California and I have a question. My question is, is there any scientific basis to the companies that sell or claim that subliminal CDs could actually alter your behaviour simply by tapping into your unconscious mind?
We put this to Ian McLaren, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Exeter.
Ian - The answer to this question is no, but with a hint of yes to it. I’ll start with the bad news: These CDs are unlikely to be an easy way to acquire new knowledge such as a new language for example, before considering evidence to subliminal learning itself, subliminal learning means learning that takes place below the normal threshold for awareness. An example would be learning a list of words by listening to them while you were asleep. If you were able to recall the words afterwards when you are awake, then that would be evidence for subliminal learning. The problem with demonstrations of this kind, and there have been some, is that there is often insufficient control to ensure that the listener is really asleep. When these studies are done well using EEG monitoring to ensure that the subject is genuinely asleep, the results tend to be unimpressive. There is little evidence of above chance recall of the words. So in this sense, these CDs are unlikely to work.
There is however some evidence for a different kind of learning under subliminal conditions. Even though the listener cannot recall the words, we can show that they've had a detectable impact on them. We use a different test in which I’ll ask you to say the first word that comes into your mind and I’ll give you a cue word. Imagine a list you'd been exposed to contains the word “Traffic.” If I now cue you with the word jam, you'll be quite likely to offer traffic as a response. But if the list had instead contained the word “strawberry,” then that would be the more likely response to my cue. This in fact does seem to occur on the subliminal presentation of words. Psychologists see it as an example of priming where experience with a word makes it more accessible, more readily available in some way. But this is not new learning. It’s better thought of as modulation of memories that you already have. So I'm afraid this “yes” part of my answer is not likely to be terribly useful to you when it comes to acquiring new information.
I think it's bunk. There used to be a lot of subliminal advertising, but it appears to be largely gone due to the lack of success. There have also been claims that backwards messages on records exist. Funny thing is that no one has ever been able to show someone understanding the messages. As far as I can see its an urban legend that will be here with us for a long time like old luggage. stereologist, Wed, 10th Mar 2010
Wasn't it some R&R band? Presumably satanists :)
Awh, did you have to do that DD?
It's a load of complete and utter baloney.
Very interesting link RD. yor_on, Thu, 11th Mar 2010
I suspect the good senators were still suffering from flashbacks.
Two different phenomena ...
i definitely would not eat it... CPT ArkAngel, Sun, 19th Sep 2010
Subliminal learning in the essence of recall is like driving a rail spike with a tack hammer.
What a load of hogwash! If subliminal messaging in any form does not work effectively or significantly, then Why did the Civil Liberties Union and even the Congress of the United States condemn the practice? Also before you try to answer make sure you have a educated one, one that can be backed up with PROOF! BreakFluid, Wed, 7th Nov 2012
I love how the answer given doesn't match the question asked, nobody noticed this, and then a bunch of weekend scholars decided that it's all hogwash. Way to go. Impressive. The answer to the question is, yes, subliminal messaging can change behavior, and even do so in significant and dramatic ways. It must be true that the script used is created using specific methods, and that the program audio built from the script is processed properly; it must also be true that the resulting audio is used in the right way. But given a good script, proper creation and proper usage, subliminal messaging can do some rather amazing things. The issue at hand is that only a small handful of people in the entire world seem to have any idea what they're doing when it comes to this. As to subliminal learning, the subconscious mind learns instantly with only one exposure. The conscious recall is not necessarily going to be there because of how the conscious and subconscious minds usually interact. Unless you tell it to make the knowledge known to the conscious mind, it will simply be subconscious. The learning has taken place, but there is not an efficient communication of it to the conscious mind because the subconscious did not know you wanted it to do that. The subconscious mind, by the way, is extremely literal. I suggest not jumping to conclusions about subliminals. There's a lot of things about the subject that science still seems to be in the dark about. John, Mon, 7th Jan 2013
I am not sure about subliminal CDs, but I do believe that subliminal messages work, there is scientific proof that subliminal stimuli activate specific regions in brain. Also there were many experiments with subliminal messages which proved that subliminal stimuli can be effective. I'm using subliminal softwares for last 6 months and I see some positive changes in my life. Usually subliminal softwares are expensive, and actually I didn't want to spend lot of money to buying one. I was using Subliminal Blaster for some time, but recently I find another free software on mindofwinner.com under products. This one is much better, you can also add subliminal pictures. However, I think it is worth trying to use subliminal software for your own personal benefits especially those which are free. You don't risk anything and you can win better life. Of course, this is my opinion. Ella, Thu, 20th Feb 2014