Subliminal Messages: Beautiful/Ugly and Quit/Start Smoking

Beautiful/Ugly and Love/Hate: To see all the details zoom in.

Beautiful/Ugly and Love/Hate: To see all the details zoom in.

This picture is the result of my efforts to convey a subliminal message. Although it may not be very clear, I drew the words ‘ugly’ and ‘hate’ within the earrings, lettering, and even in the lips and eyeball.

Quit/Start Smoking

Quit/Start Smoking

And this is a very imperfect wallpaper-like thing I made following a very easy and quick Photoshop tutorial. Smoking motifs are simple in design, so I thought they would suit this particular style.

So what are subliminal stimuli or messages exactly? Basically, subliminal stimuli are sensory stimuli that are below the threshold of conscious perception, which are detected by the subconscious. Therefore, technically, the pictures I made don’t really have subliminal messages in them, but why quibble?

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of subliminal messages. Exactly how much can subliminal messages affect the subconscious? It seems unbelievable.
When I first read about subliminal stimuli, I immediately envisaged totalitarian governments enslaving entire populations with mind control. However, according to researchers,Β  subliminal stimuli can trigger an action only if the person already has the intention of performing the specific action. Its far from my apocalyptic visions of mindless slaves, but I can still imagine how subliminal messages could effect mind control. The implications are thought-provoking and perhaps a bit alarming, at least in my dystopian future obsessed mind.

I’d love to know what you think! What do subliminal messages make you imagine? Do subliminal stimuli and their effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) make you fear for a future of mind-numbing advertising? Although, according to this article, subliminal messages in advertising are largely ineffective.

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16 responses to “Subliminal Messages: Beautiful/Ugly and Quit/Start Smoking

  1. Fascinating and thought-provoking little post here. I’ve heard that wanting to believe something does make you more susceptible to suggestion, particularly in context of cold reading/fortune telling. The idea is that people who really, really want to, say, speak with a dead loved one are more likely to believe someone who claims they can contact the dead. I believe it’s an example of the “confirmation bias” fallacy. We seek out information that confirms what we already want to believe.

    Your artwork is very clever in that vein. I especially liked the Start/Stop Smoking one. It made me think!

    • Exactly! It makes me remember something interesting I read in a popular science book…For years scientists were convinced that humans had 24 pairs of chromosomes…a group of scientists even gave up their research on human liver cells just because they could only count 23 pairs in every cell…finally, three scientists proved that humans do indeed have just 23 pairs. There are none so blind as those who do not wish to see!

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

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  3. Derren Brown did a really interesting show about subliminal messages but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called. I remember that some people are very susceptible to subliminal messages, though I can’t remember if that was influenced by belief or not. It was an entertaining show anyway, the man is a showman.
    Interesting wee post! Love the pics πŸ™‚

  4. DW, you are so talented, in so many areas. In my day, subliminal ads during films made us jump up to buy popcorn and other snacks. Supposedly, they are outlawed now.

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