The present study examines the effects of subliminal text messages in music on choice behavior. Subliminal messages are assumed to function as auditory primers. The results of two experiments will be presented: In Experiment 1, the authors tried to manipulate choice behavior of adult students (N = 66; age: 19-30 years) using subliminally presented words in two pop music pieces. In two blinded, non-directed listening tasks, subjects had (a) to choose one word out of ten from a list of words (condition wordlist), and (b) to indicate which drink they would like by putting a plastic chip into a box standing in front of four labeled bottles of water (condition choice of drink). Musical examples without subliminal messages were used as a control condition. No significant differences were found between experimental and control conditions. In Experiment 2, children (N = 82; age: 7-11 years) served as subjects. Regardless of the task and age group, no effects of subliminal messages on choice behavior could be observed. The paper concludes with a general discussion about the lack of theories that could explain any observed effects of subliminal manipulation.
1. Music and subliminal message (target word: 'Sonne'/Sun) (WAV, 17 M)
2. Message only (WAV, 16 M)
3. Music only (WAV, 17 M)
4. Decoding track (WAV, 17 M)
5. Music and subliminal message (target word 'Alora') (WAV, 30 M)
6. Music only (WAV, 30 M)
7. Message only (WAV, 30 M)
8. Decoding track (WAV, 29 M)
All music composed and arranged by Sebastian Steinhardt.
For a more extensive description of the study (in German) see http://www.musik-manipulation.de/
In case of questions please contact Reinhard Kopiez [kopiez(at)hmtm-hannover.de]