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Subliminal message science experiment?

My science class has to do a bunch of projects to put on display (because of some board of directors thingy) and I decided that I wanted to do something on subliminal messages and the like. However, I have no idea where to start. How do I do an experiment on subliminal messages? I was wondering whether or not I should make several videos with subliminal messages flashing every now and then and survey different people on it. Would that be a good idea? Or is there something better? And it shouldn’t be too easy, since I’m in the tenth grade and my teacher expects AT LEAST middle school level work. =P


  1. Why not do the one that got the messages into so much trouble, the popcorn one. Have popcorn available and do the one movie without the message, then the other one with them message and see if there is a difference in the number who want popcorn during those two shows.

  2. It’s certainly an idea. On the survey, though, the key is not to be blatant about it; the concept of subliminal advertising is unnoticed manipulation. So if you ask, “Did you notice…?” then you’re usually wrecking the effect.
    What you might do, for example, is survey the subjects beforehand with questions on the video topic, and a few “control questions” about your non-related subliminals (say, appetite and snack preferences). Then show the video with subliminials (in my example, you might show brief flashes of popcorn — to be truly subliminal, that kind needs to be so fast you don’t really see it; or, subtle placements — like presence in the background in multiple scenes — in the unrelated video is another type). The point of subliminals is that you don’t consciously notice them. Then survey again afterwards and see how the snack food answers change, if more people now prefer popcorn.


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