The case against subliminal manipulation


  • Timothy E. Moore

    Corresponding author
    1. Glendon College, York University
    • Department of Psychology, Glendon College, York University, 2275 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 3M6 Canada
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Claims persist that subliminal messages can have significant effects on motives and behavior. Among the more dramatic declarations are claims that: (1) subliminal auditory messages can induce weight loss, smoking cessation, etc., (2) reversed speech messages in popular music can corrupt youthful listeners, (3) psychotherapy can be facilitated by the subliminal stimulation of unconscious wishes, and (4) advertisers can exploit consumers by means of subliminal directives. A review of the pertinent research purporting to demonstrate these claims was conducted. It is concluded that there continues to be no evidence that subliminal messages can influence motivation or complex behavior.