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What Are Subliminal Messages And Do They Work?

Mohamad Latiff

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You have probably heard of subliminal messages and some of the urban legends that surround them. A subliminal message is a message designed to avoid detection by the conscious mind but will be registered in the subconscious mind. In short, you cannot see, hear or pick up any of those subliminal messages, only your mind can.

Can you see the potential of this technology? Practically any ideas can be delivered and embedded inside anybody's mind, whether knowingly or unknowingly. It also means they will not attempt to debate the logics or fallacies of those ideas, no matter how absurd or controversial they may be.

Giant advertising companies and political parties will spare no cost on getting the technology on their hands. Currently, subliminal messages are most prominent in the self-help industry, where increasing number of professionals are seeking self-improvement means without compromising on their already limited time.

Some forms of subliminal messages include:

1) Texts or graphical messages displayed in front of the audience for a very short time. It will appear and disappear so fast that the audience would not notice it. Screensavers are very popular media for such messages.

2) Imageries embedded in videos or publications as watermarks or certain pose. Disney was one company rumoured to involve such deception in their early animations.

3) Audio messages that are recorded in frequencies beyond the audible range for human beings. Money are spent on CDs claiming to contain subliminal messages which can help anyone to quit addictions, improve capabilities and alter personalities, just by listening to those CDs. Some softwares even allow you to record your own desire into subliminal messages!

There are even movie references to such technology. In ‘Josie and The Pussy Cats: The Movie', the protagonist and her band listened to music with subliminal messages and behaved abnormally. One of the band members, Melody, acted by Tara Reid, was a staunch vegetarian who developed a taste for hamburgers immediately after exposure to the music.

Other documented examples of using subliminal messages includes:

- A hidden message in movies to promote and boost popcorns and drinks sales. (The owner of the theatre had admitted that he lied)
- Videos that carries subliminal advertisements.
- Embedded watermarks in print advertisements.
- Sub-audio messages used in self-help CDs

There are also testimonials that swear by subliminal messages.

However, I still have my doubts over its effectiveness compared to brainwave entrainment program, a technology that is slowly receiving popularity. Here's why:

1) There are plenty of universities and commercial standard experiments that had successfully debunked the effectiveness of subliminal messages compared to brainwave entrainment program.

2) Do you feel that a person can benefit from flashing messages and sub-audible affirmations if he's blind and deaf? On the other hand, as long as his brain's neurons are still firing electrical signals, brainwave entrainment program will work just fine.

3) Subliminal messages reeks of snake-oil salesman or Nigerian get-rich quick scheme due to the hype around it and its inability to withstand scientific scrutiny. Brainwave entrainment program has a more logical background with much more scientific backings.

4) Apparently, there are language barriers for subliminal messages. At least you need not worry about your vocabulary with brainwave entrainment program. Brainwaves share the same language among all the livings; they are measured in hertz (a unit to measure frequency).

5) Lastly, brainwave entrainment program serves to train your mind to adopt certain mental states by tuning the brain to certain frequencies. Subjects of brainwave entrainment program experiments were reported to exhibit the trained mental states long after the experiments had ended, six months to be exact. In contrast, subliminal message experiments’ subjects display no effects whatsoever after the end of the experiments.

Brainwave entrainment program is definitely more reliable and effective than subliminal messages. Subliminal messages may hold huge potentials; imagine yourself learning a new language while reading a magazine or picking up a new skill while listening to the radio en route, all through subliminal means of teachings. But sad to say, such a technology is better left in the realm of the sci-fi rather than the real world, at least until our technology has reached that unprecedented level.

If one day, when you feel a sudden irresistible urge to click on ALL your spam emails, and finally buy the Viagra pills, ‘uh-huh’ enhancement lotions and kitchen windowpanes, you'll know the technology is ready.

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