Do subliminal messages really work? (Thinkstock)
Do subliminal messages really work?
Lexile

You asked us, "Do subliminal messages really work?"
 
We're pretty sure the answer is no, but just in case, we may throw in a subliminal surprise or two to see if you're paying attention.
 
Just kidding?
 
Subliminal messaging is the idea that someone can flash an image or sound just for an instant that sneaks past your conscious mind into your subconscious and ultimately affects your behavior.
 
The thought is a scary one because no one wants to be someone else's pawn, but the question is, does it work?
 
Well, I'm not exaggerating when I say that a lot of people have spent a lot of time looking into the effectiveness of subliminal messaging, and the long and short of it is there isn't a heck of a lot of convincing evidence to show that it can influence our behavior.
 
So, go watch TV, listen to music and make decisions of your own free will, and then come back and watch more stories like this every day at Smithsonian.com

Filed Under:  
Assigned 42 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How can a message that sneaks past your consciousness affect your behavior?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (14)
  • thomasm-day
    10/09/2015 - 09:24 a.m.

    Subliminal messages are little thoughts that are given to the public to brainwash them into thinking what u want them to think. We are all brainwashed every day when it comes to innocent commercials or hard core liberals spitting it down your throat. These messages even control me into buying something I would have never needed in the first place. Subliminal messages are often overlooked, yet they can provide very strong ideas and insight.

  • holdeno-3-bar
    10/13/2015 - 06:50 p.m.

    Subconscious messaging can affect your behavior because you might think things without actually being logical. When watching subconscious messaging, the intended message skips past your traditional logic firewall that is your brain. It is then much easier for your behavior to be influenced because you won't be able to use logic against it.
    I like this article because it explains about the endeavors of the human mind.

  • osajis-pay
    10/14/2015 - 11:16 a.m.

    This article say that subliminal messaging although it is real, doesn't seem to have as much of an impact on its behavior as we make it out to be. Or, is that what the want us to believe.
    /\
    / \
    /____\
    // . \\
    / \____/ \
    /__________\

  • ians-pay
    10/14/2015 - 11:17 a.m.

    I think subliminal messages do, indeed, work. Although, I do not think they are effective enough for "total mind control." The notion that says we can be controlled by things we can't perceive is terrifying.

  • justinl-pay
    10/14/2015 - 11:17 a.m.

    A message, dependent on the importance, can affect behavior. Even if it does go past your consciousness, the level of importance of the message is the depending factor on a message.

  • laurenc-bag
    10/14/2015 - 08:27 p.m.

    A message that sneaks past my consciousness could make it into my subconscious and unleash some sort of forbidden memory and make me go crazy.

  • erine-bag
    10/17/2015 - 01:26 a.m.

    A subliminal message has not been proven to work, yet.

  • alyssak-day
    10/21/2015 - 01:13 p.m.

    TT:5
    The article “Do subliminal messages really work?” is an interesting article because it talks about if us humans really are a “pawn” in marketing. Thousands of commercials run on television a day, trying to convince us the so called wonders of their product. Researchers have found that as far as they know we do have some willpower here but the effect of these messages impact many people a day. Telling us what to do and where to do it.

  • ameliat-Orv
    10/27/2015 - 12:27 p.m.

    I never really knew what subliminal messages were, but now that I do, I think that they might actually work. We watch people eating food in a chip commercial and all of a sudden we want to go buy those chips, which is exactly what the company wants. It's scary to think about, but companies are controlling our brains by using subliminal messages.

  • benb1-lam
    11/02/2015 - 11:49 a.m.

    I think this article is a great example of how little is known about subliminal messages and weather they work and how effective they are.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT