Subliminal Messages Psychology

Subliminal stimulus is any stimulus presented below the threshold of conscious awareness. According to subliminal messages psychology, by bypassing our conscious mind, the subliminal message goes directly into our brain. Subliminal messages, along with other tools, are a great way to reprogram the subconscious mind.

There’s some misconceptions about subliminal messages. Before we dig in, we’ll debunk some myths and establish some facts.

Myths About Subliminal Messages

  • Movie subliminal messages lead to record sales –> Vicary’s famous “popcorn experiment” was poorly designed, and possibly faked. In fact, the movie theatre manager said that the subliminal messages, in contrast to Vicary’s claims, had no real impact. –> More recent studies show some limited potential in subliminal advertising. However, like the friends sharing chips and salsa in the Tostitos logo, effective subliminal messages in advertising do more to increase brand awareness than to actively sell.


  • Subliminal messages are all about psychology –> this is true, but not to the extent that is often imagined. There is psychology and neuroscience involved in subliminal messaging. However, subliminal messages are really about improving communication and alignment between the conscious and subconscious mind.
  • Ads use erotic keywords and images to relate sex and satisfaction to a product and increase sales –> yep, they sure do! However, these messages are not really subliminal. Rather, selling with sex is way out there in the world for anyone to see.
  • Subliminal messages are used by the government to control the population –> no proof, though it’s certainly possible. It is common to have hidden elements in political advertising – there are complaints filed with the CRTC about this. Any good marketer, or artist, can tell you that images are images geared towards directing your gaze, and  creating a (perhaps unconscious) judgement based on the positioning of elements in an image.

Truths about subliminal messages

  • Subliminal messages cannot make anyone do or buy anything against their will. In a similar way, one cannot be hypnotized to act against their will.
  • Intention is the key to effectiveness. Subliminal messages are most effective when combined with a person’s intention of self-improvement and self-help.
  • Subliminal messages move us past resistance and aversion because they bypass the protective action of the ego-mind

Conscious Mind VS Unconscious Mind

Our brains are constantly processing information from the environment, either consciously or unconsciously. Experts estimate that 90-95% of our brain’s processes are unconscious. To get a visual, if your brain was a new pencil, your conscious mind would be the eraser on top.

The conscious mind is everything in our minds that we’re aware of.  The conscious mind has an ego voice. The ego voice replays our flaws and failures, not to harm us, but to protect us from potential future harm. The ego voice is the inner critic.

You know the one. It’s the voice that tells us that we can’t, or we shouldn’t, or we’d be crazy to do whatever.

Brain VS Mind

The brain is not the mind. The brain is a physical, chemical, mechanical and energetic organ.

In contrast, the mind is formless. It is a process. The mind exists not just in the brain, but throughout the whole body: brain, gut, heart etc.

Overtime repeated actions become known in the body. We call this muscle memory. We can condition our bodies, and yes, that includes our brains, to react in favourable ways once we know our desired outcome.

A lot of people think of the brain as a computer, and there are similarities, but the brain is more like a muscle that can be trained to function in a particular way.

Our brains love spaced repetition. It’s how we can install new patterns of habit and belief in our mind.

Subliminal messages are like personal trainers for the mind. Subliminal stimuli can rewire the brain for just about anything because the information is presented directly to the subconscious mind.

Common Issues With Subliminal Messages

  • low ability to transfer message
  • auditory, visual stimulus errors
  • faulty stories

Subliminal Messages MUST

It is critical to use psychology in the phrasing of subliminal messages. An understanding of the mind body connection is also important. Subliminal messages must be subtle, and penetrate deeply in order to reprogram the subconscious.

Call it a placebo effect, but my belief that my limitless potential can be tapped through my mind makes any self improvement strategy or technology way more effective.

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