Maybe I Do Want Popcorn

Do subliminal flashings of images (like a popcorn box on a theater screen) work afterall?

For years, we’ve been told “probably not.”

Now there are researchers saying, “maybe so.”

Not sure what to make of this, but an article on subliminal messages appeared at New Scientist today.

Money quote:

Joel Voss of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and colleagues showed volunteers 12 kaleidoscope images for 2 seconds each while they also performed an unrelated number task to distract them from consciously committing the images to memory.

A minute later, volunteers were asked to look at pairs of similar-looking images and choose the one they had seen before. They were also asked whether they were sure, had “a feeling” they were right, or were just guessing.

Those who took a shot in the dark were as successful as the rest. “They were 70 to 80 per cent accurate; it would be only 50 per cent if it was chance,” says Voss (Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn.2260).

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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