PSYC 215Lecture 5 - PSYC 215 Lecture 5 Automatic Processing...

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PSYC 215 Lecture 5 Automatic Processing Automatic processing Experiment: James Vicary announced, 58 years ago, that he had done some research and had a major breakthrough in marketing called subliminal stimuli. Reported the results of a 6 week test in which he used a high speed projector to flash words on the screen of a movie theater. Subliminal messages flashed on the screen (for one three thousandth of a second), words like ‘’drink coke’’ and ‘’eat popcorn’’. Stimulus that is subliminal, so fast you are not aware that it is happening. Claimed results: popcorn sales went up 57%., and coke sales were up 18%. Amazing that something so minimal can have such a massive effect on people’s behaviour. "Sub-liminal" :below threshold of conscious awareness. You have no knowledge that you are being shown words. However, the “researcher” later admitted he had lied, and had never done this study! Raises the possibility: can we be influenced in our thoughts and actions by stimulus that we are not even actually aware of. Book: Subliminal Seduction: claims that advertising industry used these techniques that are completely out of our awareness and yet, are manipulating us. They use subliminal messages against us to make us buy things without us really having a control over it. They are somehow getting into our unconscious mind with stimuli that we aren’t aware of. He claimed that there was an ad that made people sexually aroused, because it is tapping into your sexual arousement system (In the glass of alcohol, the ice cubes have the word sex spelled in them). This created a lot of buzz at the time. Research made on effects of subliminal messages Much early “research” into subliminal manipulation in advertising was poorly done or not conclusive o E.g., study of university students reacting to alcohol ad with “sex” in ice cubes o E.g., CBC TV study with “phone now” displayed A lot of the research suggesting that subliminal messages might actually work, was poorly done. 1) The guy who wrote this book did a study at the University of Western Ontario: He showed a large class the ad with the word sex. He then asked his students, how many of them felt sexually aroused. What he found : 60% of the people in the class felt like they were somewhat sexually aroused after seeing the ad. The research was not very valid because it was only made on college students. Not a good sample of the population. There was no control group to compare the results with. They are also in the age that people are the most sexually aroused. Therefore, the research means absolutely nothing. He also did not measure their arousement before he showed the ad and compared with how they felt after the ad. 2) CBC TV: They flashed the word PHONE NOW during a show that was about subliminal perception. They wanted to see if people would phone. There was no impact of these subliminal messages, no more phone calls were made. But people would write in. And told them that they
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had felt like they should be eating popcorn and drinking coke. So they had some ideas of what
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