Many believe that subliminal techniques are used in advertising and for propaganda. The idea was that people can be emotionally and psychologically influenced by hidden visual or vocal stimuli.
Whether it is preconscious processing or unconscious perception, few psychologists dispute or would even be surprised by the idea that people can be affected by stimuli they claim not to have seen. What people say they saw and did see are not the same.
By flashing up images and words very quickly scientists have been able to demonstrate reliably the process called subliminal perception.
Subliminal perception or cognition is a subset of unconscious cognition where the forms of unconscious cognition also include attending to one signal in a noisy environment while unconsciously keeping track of other signals (e.g one voice out of many in a crowded room) and tasks done automatically (e.g. driving a car).
A lot of research has been done to discover how much of the unattended signal is perceived unconsciously. Is the whole message sensed and fully digested or perhaps only its main and simpler features were perceived? At least two schools of thought about this question exist.
1. One of them argues that only the simpler features of unconscious signals are perceived; however please note that the majority of the research done has tended to test only for simpler features of cognition (rather than testing for complete comprehension).
2. The second school of thought argues that the unconscious cognition is comprehensive and that much more is perceived than can be verbalized.
Allegedly, there are three types of subliminal messages:
1. Subvisual messages pertain to visual cues that are flashed so quickly (generally a few milliseconds) that people don't perceive them.
2. Subaudible messages are low volume audio cues inserted into a louder audio source, such as music.
3. Backmasking refers to an audio message that is recorded backwards, with the intention of playing it forward to disguise the reversed message.
But, can subliminal tehcniques be used in changing people's behavior, such as telling them to stop smoking cigarettes or drinking liquor, permanently?
How Subliminal Messages Can Be Used to Help You Quit Smoking
Subliminal techniques to help people stop using tobacco are worth exploring.
These messages target your subconscious mind and get deeply embedded there. So even if your conscious mind is still vulnerable to the temptation of smoking, your subconscious mind will tell you a different thing, and the deeply embedded messages will eventually exert more influence to your actions and behaviors.
The messages are delivered through text and images flashing quickly on the screen or via audio recordings of someone providing instructions and expressing encouraging words in a calm and soothing voice.
Reasearch on the Use of Subliminal Messages in Smoking Cessation
Dr. Lloyd H. Silverman, a psychologist at New York University, has been at the forefront of research on subliminal techniques for over 20 years.
He has studied more than 40 groups of smokers. Half of each group were exposed to subliminal audio messages, and the other half not. Within a month, 66% of people exposed to subliminal messages stopped smoking, compared with 13% of others. This led Silverman to conclude that subliminal messages make it four times more likely someone to be able quit someone smoking.
Another research study of note was Palmatier and Bornstein's "Effects of Subliminal Stimulation of Symbiotic Merging Fantasies on Behavioral Treatment of Smokers" that was published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 1981.
The study focused 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.
The 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.
A follow up study by Palmatier and Bornstein found that "subliminal messaging noticeably improved the progress of subjects attempting to quit smoking", when compared to the group not exposed to subliminal messages.
Subliminal Mind Training Software, Videos and Apps
Here's an example of a YouTube video that uses subliminal techniques to help people stop smoking: Stop Smoking Now - Subliminal Message Session - By Thomas Hall
You may also use a desktop software for either PC or Mac devices to create subliminal messages for your personal purposes.
Another idea is to use an app for Android and Apple devices. For iPhones, you can try using the Subliminator, which you can download via iTunes.
Perhaps, the best example of these tools is Professor McMurphy, which is an app that can be used to send subliminal visuals and audio to help you quit smoking and increase positivity in your life, among others.