Date of Award

Summer 6-1958

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




In this study an effort was made to determine, in part, if the fears of persons who have been decrying the use of subliminal stimulation in advertising were realistic. Accepting the work of other scholars that this phase of perception does exist, this writer attempted to explore one facet of the problem with this hypothesis: persons who receive subliminal stimuli will be more apt to consciously recall the stimuli if they are aware that the stimuli are being given.

Research on this phase of subliminal perception was done with visual stimuli on students in beginning psychology courses. Given a pre-test and post-test to match nonsense syllables, the differences were compared on two pairs of randomly chosen syllables to see if there would be an increase in groups who did, and who did not know, that such stimuli were being given.

The experimental group who did not know they were receiving the stimuli showed no change in the number matched, matching two on the first set, and none on the second set for both the pre-test and the post-test.

The experimental group who did know they were receiving the stimulus matched one on the first set, and none on the second set for the pre-test, and matched ten on the first set and one on the second set for the post-test. Furthermore, the subject who matched the second set on the post-test also matched the first set correctly.

Chi Square analysis revealed a significant difference at the one per cent level in response using subliminal stimulus on students who were aware that the stimulus was being shown.

This study therefore, indicated that a greater proportion of persons from similar populations will be able to consciously recall the subliminal stimulus if they are aware that the stimulus is being used than if they are not aware of such stimulation.


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