Don’t Blink And You’ll Miss It

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In the above video, a clear example of subliminal advertising is shown to you. Hopefully, you all were able to test the limits of your own absolute threshold during the video above.

The absolute threshold is ‘the lowest level at which an individual can experience a sensation’ (Algie 2014) and this is what sets the standards and definition of subliminal advertising. From person to person, the absolute threshold can vary as you saw in the above video, some people actually saw the subliminal advertising (I don’t know 2007). Did you? I’m sure you might have spotted the ‘Olay’ subliminal ad as that one is just visible.

Given that in the above video the stimuli you saw was very rapid, there is a chance the people who saw this live sub-consciously developed a perception of those 5 brands – This is called ‘subliminal perception’ (Since there is a reasonable chance you were expecting to see a subliminal ad in the above video, the effect it had on you may be significantly lower).

There is some doubt though among some psychologists as to whether subliminal perception does occur or not. As I mentioned above, you were most likely expecting to see a subliminal ad in that above video so the subliminal perception effect on you may be significantly lower. This is one way the influence of subliminal messages may be affected. They can also be affected by an individual’s threshold levels (as mentioned briefly before), the distance, the control of your position, viewing, the control of your attention and a generalized effect (Algie 2014).

Since there are so many variables on the effect subliminal perception has on you, that is why there is doubt as to whether subliminal perception does occur or not. Extensive research shows that behavioural changes do not occur due to subliminal advertising as well as it not sub-consciously ‘commanding’ you to act upon a subliminal advertising message (Algie 2014). Some evidence though shows affective reactions may be influenced by subliminal advertising (Algie 2014).

Deep inside us we may have an influenced perception of brands due to subliminal advertising but how would we know? That is why subliminal advertising is illegal in some countries. Channel Ten’s ARIA Award coverage may be Australia’s only proven case of subliminal advertising on television but if it still is occurring in other forms of media in Australia, we would need a human with eagle eyes to spot it. But for most of us, we don’t blink and still miss it.

References:

Algie, L 2014, ‘Perception’ powerpoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 3 April 2014

I don’t know, 2007, Aria Awards Subliminal Ads – Media Watch responds, online video, 5 November, YouTube, viewed 7 April 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXcSWTb9zz8>.

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