Subliminal Advertising in Movies

by Jens Jacob Mølvig

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: subliminal; perception; psychology; advertisement
Record ID: 1120290
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/18795


This project covers subliminal perception, how it affects people in their daily lives, its methods, usages, and limitations. The paper will be covering the pivotal points in the history of subliminal manipulation, how the science was established and how it evolved from experimental psychology to being used in the real world to influence consumers. The project will discuss the theory of subliminal priming and explore its usage in movies where we will be using Fight Club as our primary example, amongst other films, for the usage of subliminal manipulation in movies. We go through exploring the theoretical and empirical knowledge revolving the science of subliminal perception in pursuit of finding out whether or not it is actually possible to sell products or services with subliminal advertisements and product placement. We will be talking about the study of James Vicary, who presented a study showing that influencing people using hidden messages was very possible and very effective. We look at how the experiment was falsified and look at a few experiments attempting to replicate Vicary’s findings. We look at subliminal perception’s use in the field of psychology, using and comparing the findings from these groups to how it can be used in subliminal advertisement. We use the works of Vance Packard and his scientific observations about subliminal advertisement, and look at experiments performed by a team of psychologists, on the psychological usages of subliminal priming. We conclude that subliminal advertisement simply isn’t a powerful tool, but instead we learnt how it is actually being used in real life, and what it means for the field of marketing.