From what I've read up thus far, subliminal messages do have some sort of 'influence' over our decisions or atleast our thought process, to some extent. To what extent if any is the human mind or psyche affected by subliminal messages, and are the extents variable based on the means ie. Textual, verbal, auditory or visual?

The below links are of sources written by authors without substantial credentials:




A very generic question

It is very hard to answer this question because it is very generic.

In order to get a clearer answer you'd have to narrow down your definition of what exactly constitutes subliminal message and what exactly constitutes an effect.

Once done, you can now talk about specific types of stimuli processed purely by the subconscious, and their specific effect and related variables.

Here are some examples of what might constitute 'subliminal messages':

  • A metaphor
  • Asking someone to hold a warm cup of coffee
  • Putting an image of eyes in the room
  • 'planting' a video frame in a sequences of other frames

The effect (and the extent) of all of these depends on the 'message' itself and the specifics of the experiment.

You can read further about this 'complexity' simply by reading Wikipedia's entry on Subliminal Stimuli (and the references therein).

A very generic answer

Without specifics, you can argue the following:

There is mounting evidence that pure subconscious processing can affect our behaviour, albeit often short lived.


I could point you to many resources dealing with specific cases, but I think you'll find much of what you're after (or at least a good subset/overview) in the first couple of chapters of this book:

Dehaene, S., 2014. Consciousness and the brain: Deciphering how the brain codes our thoughts. Penguin.

  • $\begingroup$ Im afraid the question would need to be fairly generic, basic even, my knowledge on this topic is limited. I see your point, would you even refer to subliminal messaging as a sort of pseudo-science? Perhaps similar to hypnotism in a sense, due to competing theories, and lack of complete evidence? $\endgroup$ – user20629 Jun 18 '19 at 9:13

This article has a great overview of one of the more famous cases of subliminal messaging and reveals that there is little evidence subliminal prompts can affect behavior.

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    $\begingroup$ Link-only answers are frowned upon on stack exchange. While it's good to provide references, your answer should stand on its own even if links rot and die. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Dec 28 '19 at 16:15

If you aloud me to keep the generic line of the question, The brain only interprets direct information . I mean in native language and culture. There are also an inner "brain" well known as reptilian, because it generate an controls emotions like fear, for example. And it could interpret and understand smells, colours, sounds,etc. as a sign of "near danger", but it is not a conscious elucubration, its an automatic response of this part of the nervous system. If you know this human generalities you could manage another person or a group, directing their responses as you like using that emotional rules. But is you hide information inside a song or a picture, our brain can not interpret it same if someone talk to us in a unknown language.The subliminal message understood by our nervous system, conscious or unconscious and will only do so if it knows the basis of that means of communication with which it has been found. As an example, I could mention "song lyrics that are sung in the back and say that we must to do certain things. The brain doesn't even realize that there is a message there.Or the famous spot "Drink Coke".

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome. Can you add sources to your answer? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jul 28 '19 at 18:50

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