What are subliminals? How do they work?

What is a subliminal?


Subliminal is a message or an affirmation below the threshold of one’s perception or sensation. It can be either visual or auditory. Basically, it’s a message designed to influence an individual’s behavior or mental process.

An important thing to understand is that we can’t be consciously aware of these messages even if we look hard for them because it’s below our sensory level and these messages can be embedded anywhere from audio clips to images or videos.

Many people including advertisers, marketers, etc use this strategy to heighten the effectiveness of their ads, meaning those messages will be acquired by people even if they don’t want to, resulting in certain changes in their behaviors towards advertising. That’s why it was considered as the dark art of persuasion and came to public knowledge in the 1950s.

Know more about subliminals in advertising.

How do subliminals work?

Well, this is something interesting to point out. Subliminals have nothing to do with our conscious level of mind, but there is another part which is known as the subconscious mind. So, what’s the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind?

For example, if you are thirsty as hell and you want to drink water from a bottle in front of you. So, you picked up the bottle and opened it. But how did you know to turn the cap correctly to open it? You weren’t aware of this while opening it.

That’s the whole point, the memory of doing it tons of times has dropped down on the subconscious level now. While picking up the bottle can be a conscious choice but the way you’re doing it is on the subconscious level.

These subliminal messages or affirmations target our subconscious. The very breathing action is done subconsciously, which means the level of this mind is immensely powerful. Legend has it that it is 30,000 times more powerful than the conscious mind. It processes 20,000 bits of information at once, while the conscious mind can only handle 7 ± 2 bits of information.

The subconscious mind never denies anything. It accepts everything around you and if it does that on a daily basis- your physical, mental, or emotional health is surely going to get influenced.

Do subliminals actually work?

They are basically mantras or affirmations acting directly upon your subconscious mind. There are lots of crazy talks going on in the world of subliminals. But do they really work? If yes, then how?

Subliminals tend to influence the internal world, meaning the beliefs or thoughts that are held true in your subconscious mind. As we know there can’t be a physical reality without a mental structure, so these subliminal messages first go into the mind and slowly take over the physical.

The nuclei in every cell of our body tell it how and what to be. The DNA of hair follicles commands our hair to be brown, black, red, etc. Cells have power over our physical being. So, subliminals play the role of programming the subconscious mind into believing something different and manifesting that into physical existence.

There have been cases where people have changed their physical appearance (hair or eye color, height, weight loss, skin tone) through subliminals. They also added that being positive and consistent on a daily basis, visualization while listening, and drinking more water are key factors to it.

Types of subliminal messages:

Since modern science has discovered 37 sensory inputs and the most significant are visual, auditory, touch, taste, smell, and movement. Among these, the visual and auditory dominate our perception. The types are categorized into both of these sensory levels:

1) Visual subliminal messages: These are in the form of images or text which are picturized onto movies, videos, or images. These images are flashed so quickly (a few milliseconds) that viewers can’t perceive them. This is classified as subvisual.

Another is called embeds, which are static images in an unchanging visual condition. They hide in our plain sight. They are often put on to print advertisements.

2) Auditory subliminals: These are low-volume messages embedded into louder audio files such as music files or a video. These messages are barely heard (need to focus) or not heard at all, depending on the maker.

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