Do Subliminal Messages Work?
Grade Level: 9th to 12th; Type: Social Science
In this experiment, the student will create music with subliminal messaging to try to influence people's decision-making.
- Can subliminal messaging be used to influence test subjects?
- Are certain types of people more likely to be influenced by subliminal messages?
This experiment will evaluate whether subliminal messaging really influences people's behavior and decision-making. Are certain types of people more susceptible to subliminal messaging than others?
- Subliminal recording software
- MP3 player
- Approximately 30 adult test subjects
- Find male and female participants from many different age groups.
- Choose a simple phrase to use as your subliminal message. Example messages could include:
- I am hungry.
- I am wide awake.
- I feel extremely hopeful and happy today.
- Research subliminal recording software and choose a program that is reasonably priced and easy to use.
- Using the subliminal recording software, add your chosen subliminal message to a song of your choosing. Select a song that is pleasant and easy to listen to.
- Create a questionnaire to give to participants before and after listening to your recorded song. Include a few questions that will allow you to be able to gauge whether your message has an effect. For example, if you choose the message, “I am hungry,” then your survey should include a question like: “Rate your level of hunger on a scale of 1 to 10.” Be sure to include a wide range of questions so that the message you are trying to convey is not apparent.
- Ask half of your test subjects to take your questionnaire, listen to the song with the subliminal recording, and retake the questionnaire.
- Ask the other half of your test subjects to take your questionnaire, listen to the same song without the subliminal recording, and retake the questionnaire.
- Analyze the results. Does listening to the song with the subliminal message appear to affect your participants? What percentage of participants that heard the subliminal message changed their response to the pertinent question(s) on the survey? How does this compare to the percentage obtained from participants that heard the song without subliminal messaging? Go a step further and break each group up into male and female participants, or into age groups. Are specific groups of people more likely to be affected by the subliminal messaging?
Terms/Concepts: subliminal messages; subliminal recording software
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