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Showing posts from November, 2014

"Can Subliminal Messages Persuade People?" Psychology Myths (Part 4 of 5)

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Myth #4 Subliminal Messages Can Persuade People to Purchase Products
Before starting, I want to make a distinction between influence and persuasion. To influence is to have an effect and to persuade is to cause someone to believe or to do something. Therefore, if I show you an advertisement that tells you to purchase a Coca-Cola and you buy a Pepsi instead, whereas you would not have bought a Pepsi before, then the ad had an influence on you, but it did not persuade you. 
(If you would like to learn more about this and other myths check out 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology by clicking this link)
       Similarly to other myths, this one is incredibly popular too. It's not surprising when laymen become entrapped to these types of misconceptions, but it becomes alarming when people starting their career think they are a valid phenomenon. In the case of subliminal messages persuading people, one study found that 59% of a sample of psychology undergraduates believed in it (Brown, 198…