These automatic/reactive parts, as the name suggests, can't help but react on the stimuli automatically.
However, these reactions are very rarely immediately noticed and have a tendency to play out more as a modification of behaviors following the stimulation.
For example, flashing the so called "death primes" (words related to death, e.
coffin, grave, death...
) to unknowing students manifested itself as them exhibiting a more patriotic, racist and aggressive thoughts and behavior relative to before the stimulation and to the control group.
An important point also emerges from the above experiment.
Subliminal messages many times won't have a straightforward effect.
One would expect that flashing national symbols such as flags or the coat of arms would provoke a patriotic reaction in the subject.
However, as it turns out, the effect is quite the opposite...
People that watched a subliminal video with quick flashes of pictures of a national flag, later exhibited a more peaceful, tolerant and welcoming thoughts and behavior.
Therefore it's important to carefully consider and test the messages embedded in a subliminal video because if we're not careful, the subliminal messages could have a different if not completely opposite effect! Now, let's see what actually was found to work and what kinds of messages should a subliminal video contain:
- Single words that provoke certain emotions - words like sex, death, war, pleasure and cash will evoke certain unconscious emotions and stir (prime) the behavior.
Words like algebra, colloquial, chair or average won't have any effect on the subject
- Short sentences - Short meaningful and emotional sentences were also found to have a profound effect on mood, anxiety level and behavior.
For example the sentence "My mommy and I are one" very significantly lowered the anxiety levels of people that had good relationships with their mothers and had the opposite effect for abused people!
- Pictures of faces - pictures of people's faces with certain expressions have a profound effect on mood and behavior.
Other pictures that provoke an emotional response also have profound impact
- Pictures of body types - Subliminally presenting drawings of people with attractive features (high shoulder to waist ratio for men and attractive hip to waist ratio for women), triggered jealousy in the male and female subjects, respectively
- Pictures of danger - When subliminally presented pictures of sharks before a picture of a neutral face, the subjects rated the person on the picture as negative
There are countless more examples and the experiments brought some staggering results.
And because there are many factors to consider, one should make sure he or she knows what he or she's doing before purchasing or creating a subliminal video.