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The New Unconscious$
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Ran R. Hassin, James S. Uleman, and John A. Bargh

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195307696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195307696.001.0001

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The Power of the Subliminal: On Subliminal Persuasion and Other Potential Applications

The Power of the Subliminal: On Subliminal Persuasion and Other Potential Applications

(p.77) 4 The Power of the Subliminal: On Subliminal Persuasion and Other Potential Applications
The New Unconscious

Ap Dijksterhuis

Henk Aarts

Pamela K. Smith

Oxford University Press

In the past century, a few hundred articles have been published about subliminal perception and applications such as subliminal persuasion. Subliminal persuasion refers to the subliminal presentation of stimuli by people (for example, advertisers) who intentionally try to influence our behavior. James Vicary claimed in 1957 that he increased the sales of popcorn and cola after subliminally flashing “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coke” in a New Jersey cinema. This chapter argues that subliminal persuasion and other applications of subliminal stimulation should be investigated, not ignored. It also present arguments for why it is impossible, or at least difficult, to maintain that all (important) behavior should be the result of conscious thought. A distinction is made between the manipulation of attitudes by subliminal evaluative conditioning, the influence of subliminal messages on consumer behavior, and the influence of subliminal messages on health.

Keywords:   subliminal perception, subliminal persuasion, subliminal stimulation, James Vicary, conscious thought, evaluative conditioning, consumer behavior, subliminal messages, health, attitudes

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