The Power of the Unconscious Mind and Subliminal Messages

 If you've read up on subliminal messages, you're familiar with the premise:  subliminals are basically messages that bypass the conscious mind, and go straight to the subconscious (like not passing Go in the Monopoly game).  Because, by design, subliminal messages don't register consciously, a lot of people doubt the effectiveness, or even think the idea of any kind of subliminal messaging self improvement products are scams.  On the other hand, you have those who have enjoyed great success from self help products that utilize subliminal messages, and swear by them.  So, which group is right? 

What is the evidence of the usefulness, or uselessness, of subliminal messages used to bring about positive changes?  Well, for one thing, everyone is likely to be a little unique and different, so by that indicator alone, a uniform result shouldn't be expected.  For instance, someone who strongly believes they will not benefit from subliminal message products at all, may very well bring about that result, simply by their belief system; a self-fulfilling prophecy, in a way.  A different subject who positively expects a good result, may be setting the stage for a positive result, again from the belief system.  Then again, you have some folks who are more visual, and would be more likely to respond to images, and subliminal text (such as the quickly flashing text messages used in subliminal messages videos).  Others may be more audio driven, and in that case, may be more likely to be influenced by subliminal messages in audios.  So it seems the potential for results are subjective, and can't really be neatly categorized.

It's been said that subliminal suggestions tend to be more powerful, not to mention more influential than common suggestions, perhaps because they may be able to get round the crucial functions of the conscious psyche.  This would make sense, if true, when you think that many such products are presented as a way to get past long term, existing, negative mental programming.

Subliminal persuasion might be similar to hypnosis or auto-suggestion wherein the subject is suggested or somehow encouraged to be calm and relaxed so that suggestions can be aimed to deeper parts of the human mind.  Although, with hypnosis, the subject usually gets sleepy, or starts to drift off into a different level of consciousness, whereas with subliminals, the subject listens and/or watches the subliminal messages while fully conscious, just relaxed, ideally.  Some experts in the field think the unconscious mind is incapable of critical rejection of subliminal or hypnotic suggestions, although, as with almost anything subjective, you can find other experts who differ in opinion. Most all experts agree that most subjects cannot be hypnotized to do something against their will, so it would seem to make sense that the same concept would apply to the use of subliminals--that subliminal messages cannot force someone to do something against their will.  For instance, if a person wants to quit smoking, even though they still want a cigarette, if their will has decided they truly want to quit, hypnotic suggestion can go to deeper levels of consciousness, and override the immediate cigarette craving, because the person willfully wants to quit.  So, with subliminals, if a person truly wants to quit smoking, subliminal suggestions of not wanting a cigarette, or wanting to be smoke free, may have a decent chance for success in overriding the immediate craving.  On the other hand, if the person does not really want to quit, then it seems the subliminal messages, (or hypnosis, for that matter), may just be a waste of time. 

Experts that believe in the power of subliminal influence and suggestions continue to point out that the effect of the subliminals may take time before specific results, or changes occur.  That is likely the case with any kind of program aimed at making changes through the subconscious, or unconscious mind.  Then, there are those that say subliminals probably won't work. 

Why bother with subliminal message products if it’s possible that they won’t work?  Well, why bother with anything if it's possible it may not work?  That's the thing--no guarantees, as with many things in life.  It's possible that some people will not notice an improvement after using a subliminal message audio and/or video recording.  Due to the nature of trying to affect change beyond the conscious mind, it's difficult to measure the effectiveness, or lack of it.  However, those who claim to have been helped by subliminal messages products seem to be repeat customers--and that speaks volumes.