Covert hypnosis articles > Subliminal hypnosis
Subliminal hypnosis could be just another way of saying covert hypnosis as both imply hypnotizing people in an unconscious (subliminal) way. However, subliminal hypnosis carries with it a connotation of hypnotizing people while they are asleep or through subliminal messages embedded in video and audio signals.
The purpose of this set of articles is to make several misconceptions in this subject clear and to discuss some of the ways of using "subliminal hypnosis" that actually works and was proven through scientific research. In this first article we’ll go through the basics so you’ll later better understand where some of the ideas come from in other articles.
In psychology, the word subliminal means "below the threshold of consciousness". To make this concept clearer, let’s do this simple and intriguing exercise…
Ready? OK, in a moment I’ll give you a random word. And as soon as you see it, say out loud whatever single word association you get as fast as you can. Say whatever pops into your mind as soon as you read the word.
Now for the word: Camera.
OK, good. What was the first word that popped into your mind? Now let’s go a step further…
You probably noticed (or you will in a few seconds) that when I gave you the word, there was actually several different words that popped into your mind besides the one you said and was probably the strongest. You see, our mind works through association. And in your mind you have several associations to the word "camera". One of those associations is the strongest and as we’ll see later it’s the context that usually determines which of the words will at any moment have the strongest association with the other.
Now, to dig even deeper, as you noticed those words were sort of arranged as if in a chain and the further down that chain you look, the weaker the words appear to be. Mind you that the chain goes much, much further down, but after 5-9 words down, the chain enters the “subliminal zone”. The associations are there, but they are at the moment not available consciously…
If you were to go down the chain a few steps and choose a word that appears there and try to find the first association, you’d notice that this word would produce another chain of words that would behave in the same manner as the previous chain.
Now, let go of the chain metaphor and look at a more appropriate one… radiation. Instead of a chain, imagine your word in center and other words "irradiating" from it. Kind of like a mind map. Our word has other words attached to it and similarly these other words further have other words attached to them and so on. It’s like a vast network of interconnected words and within this network there are many, many circuits of more closely connected (associated) words.
When you read the word camera, it lit up the other words that are in your mind for one reason or another associated with it.
Now, one of the questions that arises from this is “does this word bring the same associations every time?” The answer is NO.
What actually determines what words show up as associated strongest with the previous one is the context, which is the current environment, emotional state, previous conversations and so on. It’s like adding another dimension to it. If we again take a network analogy, it were basically the circuits that were lit up just before you saw the word that determined what words became consciously available to you.
In psychology this is called priming and later we’ll see many different and useful applications of this in covert hypnosis as well as in subliminal messaging. Just so we’re absolutely clear on this, let’s look at another simple example.
Let’s say that we were talking about sun, warmth, sand, relaxing and then I said the word WATER. Your strongest association would probably be SEA. On the other hand, if we talked about a villa with a wonderful garden and very rich people owning it and a party and then I’d say the word WATER, your strongest association in this case would probably be a POOL. Even if these were not your actual associations (remember, associations formed in your mind are completely autobiographical!), you probably didn’t get the same association after talking about the first and the second situation.
In essence, the context primed your response. This is extremely important for understanding persuasion and to becoming a good covert hypnotist.
Think about this and next time we’ll go deeper and look at some examples for the use of subliminal hypnosis…