Episode 75: Science Proves Subliminal Tapes Work! Well….not really

Do subliminal messages in self-help tapes really work? There actually is some evidence that people can be influenced by subliminal messages. Can your self-esteem be raised with subliminal tapes? Can subliminal persuasion help you lose weight? Are there subliminal messages in Disney files? Are there subliminal messages in advertising that can make you buy certain products? These questions answered once and for all at The Psych Files podcast.

Resources on Subliminal Messages

  • Pratkanis, A.R., Eskenazi, J., Greenwald, A. J. (1994). What You Expect is What You Believe but Not Necessarily What You Get: a Test of the Effectiveness of Subliminal Self-Help Audiotapes, Basic and Applied Social Psychology.
  • Murphy S.T. & Zajonc, R.B. (1993). Affect, cognition, and awareness: affective priming with optimal and suboptimal stimulus exposures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(5), 723-739.
  • Smith, K.H. & Rogers, M. (1994). Effectiveness of subliminal messages in television commercials: Two experiments. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(6), 866-874.
  • Moore, T.E. (1995). Subliminal self?-?help auditory tapes: An empirical test of perceptual consequences. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science,27(1), 9-20.
  • Merikle, P.M. & Skanes, H.E. (1992). Subliminal self?-?help audiotapes: A search for placebo effects. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(5), 772-776.
  • Vokey, J. R. & Read, J. D. (1985). Subliminal messages: Between the devil and the media. American Psychologist, 40(11), 1231-1239.

  • Champion, J. M. & Turner, W.W. (1959). An experimental investigation of subliminal perception. Journal of Applied Psychology, 43(6),382-384.
  • Byrne, D. (1959). The effect of a subliminal food stimulus on verbal responses. Journal of Applied Psychology, 43(4), 249-252.
  • THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE AD CAMPAIGN; Democrats See, and Smell, Rats in G.O.P. Ad
  • Here’s a link to the book that was very useful to me in developing this episode, "Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal" by Timothy J. Lawson: