When is choice affected by subliminal messages? This question has fascinated scientists and lay people alike, but it is only recently that reliable empirical data began to emerge. In the current paper we bridge the literature on implicit motivation and that on subliminal persuasion. We suggest that motivation in general, and implicit motivation more specifically, plays an important role in subliminal persuasion: It sensitizes us to subliminal cues. To examine this hypothesis we developed a new paradigm that allows powerful tests of subliminal influences as well as stringent assessments of subliminality. The results of two experiments suggest that implicit motivation can enhance the effects of subliminal priming on choice.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The article is based on parts of the dissertation of the first author, which was supported by Grant from the Israeli Foundation of Trustees and Presidential Doctoral Fellowship to the first author and by the Israeli Science Foundation Grants 1035/07 to R.R.H. and 124/08 to Y.S. We would like to thank Shoham Choshen-Hillel, Baruch Eitam, Assaf Kron and Shira Zimerman for contributing valuable ideas to the development of the paradigm, to Yaffa Goldberg for programming the experiments and to Ariel Goldstein and Asael Sklar for their help in analyzing the data.
- Subliminal priming