Subliminal Messages: How They Work and How They Affect Us

The subliminal aspects of everything that happens to us may seem to play very little part in our daily lives. But they are the almost invisible roots of our conscious thoughts.

~ Carl Jung

The human mind is divided in two parts, the conscious and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind works while we are awake and conscious. The subconscious on the other hand, is always activated, regulates everything in our body, our character, our speech, and receives and processes information, no matter what we do.


Think of your mind as an iceberg. The conscious part is the tip of theiceberg that you see on the surface of the sea, say 5% of the total partof the iceberg, while the remaining part under the sea is thesubconscious. Just think how powerful it is.


Another simple way to describe it is to see it as a tape player, which plays continuously “tapes” which installed throughout the course of our life – feelings, thoughts, patterns. The subconscious mindreceives information for which we are not aware of and stores them.If we receive information in an appropriate manner and at a high volume and frequency, then the information dwell in the mind andbecome an important part of who we are. This is why many “gurus”and lovers of self-help and personal development, point out and want to have access to the power of the subconscious. Because, if you put in it another “tape”, then the result will be different.The train of thought changes, making us work differently, and so, inevitably results are different. Dr. Joseph Murphy saysin his book The Power Of The Subconscious, “change your thoughts and you change your destiny”.


How Do Subliminal Messages Work?


Subliminal messages are messages (phrases and images) that operate below the level of conscious awareness and delivered in a way to be perceived from the subconscious mind. They may be audio subliminal messages and of course,visual.

For example, we can take the phrase “I am confident” and embed it into a music track where the conscious mind will nothear it clearly or in a video in which will be displayed for a split second, so the conscious mind will not have enough timeto process it logically. In both cases, the phrase is clearly perceivable from the subconscious mind.

The constant repetition of this phrase or others helps on rewiring (creating new neural pathways) long thought patterns and one to think more positively, lose weight, have more confidence etc.



The subliminal messages technology exists for several decades. Many studies have shown that they can produce satisfying and lasting effects, from breaking unwanted habbits to improving performance. This technology is successful because offers the capability to interfere the “guard” of the subconscious mind, namely the analysis and processing of the logical, conscious mind.


The Science and How They Affect Us

There have been several surveys and studies that prove the effectiveness of subliminal messages technology.


  • Martijn Veltkamp (PhD-student), demonstrated that you can motivate people to do things that already had the intention to do them, using visual subliminal stimuli [2]

  • According to Professor Benjamin B. Wolman, author of more than 40books on psychology, conscious thought can be influenced by stimulioutside of conscious awareness. He adds, with reference to Silverman (1967), that Freud’s study of consciousness “assumes that a subliminal input raises the activation level of existing unconscious motives” [3]

  • Dr. Norman Dixon, a psychologist at University College London, has done extensive research on subliminal learning. In his scholarly work Preconscious Processing he cites 748 references to studies on the effects of subliminal communication, with over 80% showing positive results [4]

  • Dr. Eldon Taylor, director of Progressive Awareness Research and a Fellow in the American Psychotherapy Association, firmly believes that subliminal information when presented in an appropriate manner, is processed, retained, and acted upon [5]

  • The research of Dr. H Bahador Bahrami, a neuroscientist at the University College of London, using brain scanners showed that the brain absorbs subliminal messages when not too busy [6]

Several studies have focused on the possibility of using subliminal messages to produce specific results:


Academic Performance

An article in the Journal of Counseling Psychology (Journal of Counseling Psychology) [7], reports a study by Dr. Kenneth Parker, a psychologist at Queens College in New York. Dr. Kenneth Parker conducted a study to determine whethersubliminal messages can improve academic performance. Careful statistical analysis of the effects of subliminalstimulation, showed significant improvement in academic performance of students.


Weight Loss

Two groups of overweight women participated in a course for weight loss, where one group received audio subliminalsuggestions, while the other group weren’t. The women of the group that had exposed to subliminal suggestions lostmore weight, while the difference in weight continued to increase during the follow-up.


Stop smoking

Psychologist Dr. Lloyd H. Silverman of New York University, has studied more than 40 groups of smokers. Half of each group were exposed to subliminal audio messages, and the other half not. Within a month, 66% of people exposed to subliminal messages stopped smoking, compared with 13% of others. This led Silverman to conclude that subliminalmessages make it four times more likely someone to be able quit someone smoking .


It is obvious the fact that subliminal messages have the potential to affect us and become part of our beliefs. They are auseful and powerful tool to change oneself. The applications can be infinite, from eliminating phobias and anxiety to increasing self-confidence, self-esteem and other mental abilities.

Everything in this article is backed by Science - here are the references. 

[1] Murphy, Joseph. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. Wilder Publications, November 2008.




[3] Wolman, Benjamin B. Handbook of General Psychology. Prentice Hall; 1st Edition, June 1973.


[4] Dixon, N. Preconscious Processing. John Wiley & Sons, January 1982.


[5] Taylor, E. “Subliminal Information Theory Revisited: Casting Light on a Controversy”. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association. (2007).




[7] Parker, Kenneth A., “Effects of Subliminal Symbolic Stimulation on Academic


Performance.” Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol. 29 (1), 1982.

[8] Silverman, L.H., Martin, A., Ungaro, R., and Mendelsohn, E. “Effect of Subliminal Stimulation of Symbiotic Fantasies on Behavior Modification Treatment of Obesity.” Clinical Psychology –


[9] Silverman, L.H. “Effects of Subliminal Stimulation of Symbiotic Merging Fantasies on Behavioral Treatment of Smokers.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease


More sources for further study:—How-it-Works&id=1819773