Sunday, September 17, 2006

Subliminal Messages, Exposed. Part Four

Covert Subliminal Persuasion:

Seven Facts that Will Change the Way You Influence Forever
(adapted from The Science of Influence Library: 37-48)

Can People Be Influenced Subliminally?

The girl sees the word "sex" on the TV screen and of course she hypnotically becomes unyielding in her quest to dominate you. (Or guy, if the case is appropriate.) We all dreamed of it when we were younger (it wasn't just me, was it?)...and the images didn't fade much with time.

In the last 15 years, subliminal perception and influence has been put back on the front burner, albeit very quietly.

The first discovery to share with you is that audio subliminal recordings simply don't work.

Priming in Persuasion...and Subliminal Influence

Priming is a way we can covertly influence, as we've discussed in The Science of Influence CD Library in numerous contexts. Priming is all about activating conscious and unconscious associations with intention.

Some quick examples of every day priming:

• Someone says, "Mr. MacDonald was a nice old man," and the listener has a 'thought' to go to McDonalds and get a hamburger.
• Someone asks you what TV show you want to watch tonight. They are playing "Who are You" on the CD player in the background, and they say, CSI. "Who are You" is the theme song for CSI.
• You hear a commercial for The Apprentice, or 24, or the upcoming special about Elvis on TV. You think, "I wonder what Kevin Hogan will write about in Coffee this week."

Want to know why auditory subliminals don't work? Continue the article below.

Why Don't Auditory Sublminals Work?

Why didn't the subliminals work?

Simple. The brain couldn't get the message from outside in the world to the inside of the brain, as there was no vibration for the ear and then auditory cortex to work their magic. It was a shame, too, after all the recordings we bought for better grades and self-esteem in college. (or was that just me again?) Like sleeping on a book and praying for the information to be pumped in by osmosis...well you get the picture...

There's still people who produce "subliminal CDs", but I can assure you that the zealotry of the producers of such materials is utterly and totally unwarranted. They don't work and it's been shown in every single scientific study ever done about it.

What about video?

An entirely different and very enticing story!

The visual cortex WILL respond to stimuli which are not in conscious awareness and which are NOT able to be seen with conscious attention and effort. The visual cortex will take this information that isn't or can't be seen and share it with other parts of the brain CAUSING actions to be taken on the stimulus.

Scary cool.

What Does New Research Show?

Research out this week shows that if you show a picture of Pamela Anderson to someone, there are literally single cells (neurons) in the brain that "know" that is Pamela Anderson. These neurons react to Pamela (and who wouldn't?) in a "knowing way." In other words it's DIFFERENT neurons that react when pictures of The Beatles are shown and different from those of Jennifer Aniston and so on.

Now don't get the idea that "memory" is single cell....

Covert Hypnosis

Subliminal Messages Part Three

Factor Three: Know the Priming Factor Before Attempting to Influence
FASCINATING: Priming SADNESS enhanced the persuasiveness of an ad for a CD with Mood Restoring music when people expected to interact with someone.

A neutral stimulus (an oval) showed no change in whether people would buy the CD or not.

Now, the only way you come up with these kind of results is by understanding the process of nonconscious "thought," and fortunately, essentially, no one does.

Let's do something simple for using subliminals in a supraliminal environment. (Fancy way of saying the subliminal image is actually visible in consciousness and possibly even observed but not likely to be DEEMED as important in influencing behavior.)

Factor Four: Don't Dilute the Message

If there is too much noise in your office...too many competing messages...then no environmental prime is going to be that big of an influence (if at all) on someone's behavior or decision making.

Imagine you sell car insurance and people come to your office to consider buying. Here are two exaggerated extremes. Which do you think is going to CAUSE more people to purchase car insurance.
Factor Five: Wire into the Non-conscious Mind
A) A photograph of a family, smiling in their car as they drive down the road. Everyone happy and making lots of eye contact, enjoying the ride.
B) A photograph of a car mangled with people standing by the scene crying, tearful, in agony.

The answer is B.

The horror of B will FAR outsell that of the pain of A. Remember the person is in the office to consider buying insurance. Seeing a happy family is nice. It's pleasant. It's comforting and causes good feelings inside. But the prime of the accident and what that "means" to the nonconscious mind of the fence sitting individual is overwhelming and CAUSES a purchase decision.

Think about homeowner's insurance. Hurricane coverage doesn't come with homeowner's insurance. It's a separate policy. But the way you SELL homeowners insurance is to show the remnants of a hurricane and all the surroundings THEN show the agent giving a check to the family. Nothing sells like that picture because it wires into the drivers and motivators of who we are as people.

Factor Six: Placement Matters

The location of the photo of the car accident with mourners matters as well. If it's on the desk...that's manipulative and you just killed the sale. People do not OVERTLY wish to be manipulated. (The antithesis is an entirely different article.) If it's on the side wall and visible but not standing out when the people walk in, then it does it's job.

(Technically that would be a supraliminal "image" right? Not subliminal....)