Scientific Studies on Subliminal Perception
Academic Research & Studies on Subliminal Perception
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Ariam, S. and Siller, J. "Effects of Subliminal Oneness Stimuli in Hebrew on Academic Performance of Israeli High School Students. " Journal of Abnormal Psychology (1982).
- Study on the ability of subliminal perception to influence performance of students.
- 10th grade students were tachistoscopically presented with subliminal messages in Hebrew of the following phrases; "Mommy and I are one", "My teacher and I are one" and "People are walking in the street" (a neutral statement). Each subject received subliminal stimulation four times a week, over a period of 6 weeks.
- When tested 6 weeks later, the students exposed to the subliminal statement "Mommy and I are one" did mathematically better than the other groups.
Palmatier, J.R., and Bornstein, P.H. "Effects of Subliminal Stimulation of Symbiotic Merging Fantasies on Behavioral Treatment of Smokers." The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (1980).
- Study on the possibility of using subliminal perception to enhance the efficacy of a smoking cessation therapy. Thirty-four subjects received a 3-week, group-oriented behavior therapy package aimed at smoking cessation.
- Results revealed that the subliminal messages were able to affect post-treatment smoking behavior of the experimental group.
- The results were interpreted as evidence when subliminal messages, when repeated over a period of time, and combined with a treatment containing active components, were successful in influencing behavior and attitudes of subjects.
Kaser, V.A. "The Effects of an Auditory Subliminal Perception Message Upon the Production of Images and Dreams". Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (1986).
- A group of subjects were exposed to an auditory subliminal message to study whether messages could be transmitted subliminally. The subliminal message was produced by speeding up a message that was sung until it could not be consciously understood, and was mixed with a normal music recording. Another group of subjects was exposed to the normal music recording without the subliminal recording.
- Both groups were asked to produce a pre-test drawing before and immediately after the tapes were played as well as a drawing of any dreams they might have that night.
- Analysis of all the drawings by two art therapists showed a significant difference between the dream drawings and imagery drawings of the experimental and the control group. When the drawings were examined, the effects of the subliminal message could be seen.
- The research findings suggest that the unconscious/subconscious mind is able to perceive a recorded verbal message that cannot be consciously heard, proving the existence of subliminal perception.
Silverman, L.H., Martin, A., Ungaro, R., and Mendelsohn, E. "Effect of Subliminal Stimulation of Symbiotic Fantasies on Behavior Modification Treatment of Obesity." Clinical Psychology (1978).
- Two experiments on subliminal perception were conducted on groups of 30 and 26 women. The women’s age ranged from 22 to 59 years and were at least 15% overweight. The subjects were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. Both groups were given instructions for the treatment of obesity (i.e. Instructions on how to keep records of amount and calorie content of feed eaten, how to systematically reduce the number of situations in which they ate and how to reward themselves for appropriate eating behavior).
- In addition, at the start and end of all treatment sessions, each subject was asked to image a situation in which she was tempted to over-eat and them presented tachistoscopically with a 4 msec. subliminal exposure of "Mommy and I are one" (experimental group) or "People walking" (control group). Subjects were also instructed that if they were tempted to over-eat outside of treatment sessions they should form a mental image of the tachistoscopic flash and try to refrain from eating.
- In both studies the experimental groups lost more weight than the control subjects, which differences increased to reach significance by the end of the follow-up period. Researchers concluded that the use of subliminal stimuli and subliminal perception were able to help people reduce their over-eating.
Parker, K.A. "Effects of Subliminal Symbiotic Stimulation on Academic Performance: Further Evidence on the Adaptation-Enhancing Effects of Oneness Fantasies." Journal of Counseling Psychology (1982).
- Study on effects of subliminal perception on academic performance, if any.
- 60 college students were enrolled in an undergraduate summer session law course with the experimenter-instructor for 6 weeks. In addition to the normal course of instruction, all subjects received subliminal stimulation before 3 out of 5 lectures each week, as well as before and after a 10-minute counseling session with the experimenter.
- Subjects exposed to subliminal messages earned significantly higher grades than the control group. These results were viewed as consistent with findings of earlier studies on the effects of subliminal messages on schizophrenics, insect-phobics, obesity, and alcoholics.
Lee, I., Tyrer, P. and Horn, S., "A comparison of Subliminal, Supraliminal and Faded Phobic Cine-Films in the Treatment of Agoraphobia. " British Journal of Psychiatry (1983).
- 32 agoraphobic patients were treated by repeated exposure to cine-films at twice weekly intervals for three weeks. Three of the groups saw the same cine-film, comprising a range of agoraphobic scenes, and a control group saw a potter working on his wheel. The three groups seeing the phobic cine-film included one who viewed it at an illumination level below the visual threshold (subliminal group), one seeing it under normal conditions (supraliminal group), and one which underwent graduated exposure from subliminal to supraliminal viewing levels as the study proceeded (faded group).
- The faded group showed significantly greater improvement than the control groups and this improvement was maintained over twelve weeks.
- Research findings indicate that both subliminal and supraliminal presentation of phobic cine-films are effective in reducing agoraphobic behavior.
Plumbo, R. and Gillman, I. "Effects of Subliminal Activation of Oedipal Fantasies on Competitive Performance." The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (1984).
- Study on effect of subliminal perception on performance of dart-throwers.
- Subjects were exposed to the following subliminal messages; "Beating Dad is OK", "Beating Dad is wrong", "Beating him is OK", "Beating him is wrong" and "People are walking".
- Findings indicate that the subliminal message "Beating Dad is OK" led to greater dart-throwing accuracy than the other four subliminal messages.
Cook, H., Ph.D. "Effects of Subliminal Symbiotic Gratification and the Magic of Believing on Achievement." Psychoanalytic Psychology (1985).
- Graduate students were divided into several groups and exposed to either to a subliminal message, or to a control message immediately after their statistics or measurement class. The subjects received 12 sessions of 10 exposures per session, of 4-msec visual subliminal messages.
- The final examinations for each course noted that students who had received the subliminal message performed better than students receiving the control message. Researchers concluded that stimulating students subliminally to feel better about themselves may enable them to learn more effectively.
Dauber, R.B. "Subliminal Psychodynamic Activation in Depression: On the Role of Autonomy Issues in Depressed College Women. " Journal of Abnormal Psychology (1984).
- A study on depressed college women (measured by the Beck Depression Inventory scores) noted that when shown a subliminal statement "Leaving Mom is wrong", subjects’ depressive feelings increased.
Schmidt, J.M. "The Effects of Subliminally Presented Stimuli on Normal Young Adults." Unpublished doctoral dissertation, (1981), University of Southern Mississippi.
- A follow-up study on subliminal perception by Schmidt (1081), noted that when presented with a subliminal message "I have been bad", subject’s depressive feelings increased.
Hart, L. "The Effect of Noxious Subliminal Stimuli on the Modification of Attitudes Towards Alcoholism: A Pilot Study." (1973).
- In a study on exposing subjects to subliminal messages and their resulting attitudes towards alcoholism, over a five-day period, subjects’ attitudes towards alcoholism as measured by a questionnaire had changed significantly.
- The findings support the proposition that subliminal perception or stimuli which are not consciously perceived or directly experienced can influence attitudes.
Lee, I. And Tyrer, P. "Responses of Chronic Agoraphobics to Subliminal and Supraliminal Phobic Motion Pictures. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease". (1980).
- A study on possibility the use of subliminal perception to reduce subject's phobia of open spaces (agoraphobics)
- Fifteen agoraphobics (fear of open spaces) took part in a study to investigate their responses to repeated presentations of a phobic-motion picture. The subjects were divided into three groups and each group was shown the film subliminally, supraliminally and a control group. The subjects’ were assessed with visual analogue scales, and three physiological measures, heart rate, skin conductance, and respiratory rate were recorded.
- Study findings indicate that both subliminal and supraliminal presentations had significant improvements in phobic fear and avoidance, with the subliminal presentations showing the most improvements.
Borgeat, F., M.D., Elie, R., M.D., Chaloult, L., M.D., and Chabot, R. B. Ped. "Psychophysiological Responses to Masked Auditory Stimuli." Canadian Journal of Psychiatry (1985).
- Verbal statements, masked by a foreground of 40dB white noise, were presented to the subject at increasing intensities by increments of 5 dB starting at 0 dB. At each increment, frontal EMG, skin conductance and heart rate were recorded.
- The subjects’ physiological responses to stimuli below the thresholds of identification and detection were observed. Subjects who had listened to the subliminal statements responded more strongly on a physiological level than subjects who did not listen to the subliminal statements.
Bornstein, R.F, Leone, D.R. and Galley, D.J. "The Generalizability of Subliminal Mere Exposure Effects: Influence of Stimuli Perceived Without Awareness on Social Behavior." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1987).
- Subjects were exposed to slides of abstract geometric figures at both subliminal (i.e., 4 ms) and supraliminal exposure durations. Subjects' attitudes toward the subliminally presented stimuli became significantly more positive with repeated exposures, even when subjects were unaware that exposures had occurred.
- The experiment went on to measure attitude changes due to subliminal perception of photographs of actual persons. The results indicate that attitudes toward persons encountered in the experiment are enhanced by subliminal perception of a photograph of that person.
Charman, D.K., "An Examination of Relationship between Subliminal Perception, Visual Information Processing, Levels of Processing and Hemispheric Asymmetries." Perceptual and Motor Skills (1979).
- A subliminal letter was exposed to the left or right hemisphere of the brain for either 15 or 20 msec. Subject’s were able to guess the letter more accurately when visual presentations were made to the right side of the brain, whilst verbal recognition was more accurate when presentations to the left hemisphere.
Kaplan, R., Thornton, P. and Silverman, L., "Further Data on the Effects of Subliminal Symbiotic Stimulation on Schizophrenics." Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (1985).
- A study on subliminal perception in 128 hospitalized schizophrenic men (aged 18-65 years). The subjects were divided into 4 groups, and each group was assessed for pathological thinking, pathological non-verbal behavior and self-esteem before and after the subliminal exposure of an experimental and control stimulus.
- The control message for all groups was the message "People are walking", and the experimental stimuli were the messages; "Mommy and I are one", "Mommy is always with me", "Mommy feeds me well" and "I cannot hurt Mommy".
- The group received the subliminal message "Mommy and I are one" responded significantly better on all three assessments.
Kemp-Wheeler, S.M. and Hill, A.B. "Anxiety Responses to Subliminal Experience of Mild Stress." British Journal of Psychology (1987).
- Study on existence of subliminal perception.
- Two groups of undergraduates were exposed to different subliminal words. One group was presented with 20 emotional words presented 10% below the detection threshold, whilst the other group was presented with 20 emotionally-neutral words.
- The subject’s heart and respiration rates were taken before and after exposure to the subliminal words.
- Research findings indicate that subjects subliminally exposed to the emotionally-charged words had significantly higher measurable readings, indicating that subliminal perception of subliminally-delivered words had taken place.
Kihlstrom, J.F. "The Cognitive Unconscious." Science (1987).
- Contemporary research in cognitive psychology reveals the impact of subconscious mental structures and processes on the individual's conscious experience, thought, and action.
- Research on perceptual-cognitive and motor skills indicates that they are automatized through experience, and thus rendered unconscious.
- In addition, research on subliminal perception, implicit memory, and hypnosis indicates that events can affect mental functions even though they cannot be consciously perceived or remembered.
- These findings suggest a tripartite division of the cognitive unconscious into truly unconscious mental processes operating on knowledge structures that may themselves be preconscious or subconscious.
Sackeim, H.A., Packer, I.K. and Gur, R.C. "Hemisphericity, Cognitive Set, and Susceptibility to Subliminal Perception." Journal of Abnormal Psychology (1977).
- The results indicate that hemisphericity and cognitive set interact in producing subliminal effects. Left movers, or right-hemisphericity people, showed the subliminal effect when encouraged to think in a holistic and intuitive fashion. Surprisingly, right movers (left-hemisphericity people) tended to show the subliminal effect when encouraged to think in an organized and logical manner, indicating that hemisphericity and cognitive set may be more mutually interdependent in affecting susceptibility to subliminal stimulation than was originally expected.
- Research findings support the ability of subliminal perception and hemisphericity to influence subjects attitudes and behaviors.
Schurtman, R., Palmatier, J.R. and Martin, E.S. "The Activation of Symbiotic Gratification Fantasies as an Aid in the Treatment of Alcoholics." The International Journal of the Addictions 1982, 17 (7), 1157-1174.
- Seventy-two alcoholics being treated were divided into an experimental and a control group. In addition to the regular treatment program both groups received four subliminal exposures of a verbal message in each of six sessions over a 2-week period. The messages were "Mommy and I" (experimental) and "People are walking" (control), administered under double-blind conditions.
- Subjects exposed to the subliminal messages were rated as significantly more involved in treatment, had lower anxiety and depression, enhanced self-concept and reduced alcohol consumption after a 3-month follow-up.
Shevrin, H. "Does the Averaged Evoked Response Encode Subliminal Perception? Yes." (1975)
- Research findings note that subject’s responses to stimuli are significantly lower when subjects are consciously aware of the stimuli. When stimuli are presented subliminally (less than 3 mili-seconds), subject’s responses were significantly higher.
- Despite subject’s not being consciously aware of the subliminal stimuli, physiological measurements suggest that the body is aware of these stimuli.
- These suggest that whilst the mind may not be consciously aware of the messages, the subconscious and body is able to pick up on the subliminal stimuli and respond accordingly.
Silverman, L.H. "Research on Psychoanalytic Psychodynamic Propositions." Clinical Psychology Review (1985).
- Discusses a number of research programs over the past 20 years. A number of studies involving 4-milisecond exposures are presented to subjects, and tested on various clinical and non-clinical populations.
- Two major findings have emerged; firstly, When subliminally exposed to stimuli intended to intensify their particular unconscious issues, a number of clinical groups including schizophrenics, depressives and stutterers have shown intensifications of their symptoms. Secondly, when exposed subliminally to the message "Mommy and I are one", various groups have shown significantly improvement for their issues.
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