adventures of my mind

Subliminal Motivators

August 14th, 2008 by | Word Count: 995 | Reading Time 4:00 1,508 views

Can advertising make you do things? Can you make people think and do things by simple body language? Two simple questions and initially you may think the answer is no. You may think you are aware of advertising and the associated implicit goals, therefore you are making up your own mind whether to purchase a product or not. You may also think that you are controlling your own actions and thoughts when dealing with another person. However, more often than you would believe, you are being led to decisions and thoughts by your environment via signals, subliminal messaging, body language, and most importantly, the buildup of such environmental occurrences. In simple terms, we are trained from a very young age to react and respond to cues in our world. Many people have made great livings specifically focusing upon these environmental cues to achieve their goals.

We make up our own minds right? Yes, of course, someone else cannot think and make decisions for us. But, our experiences learned via our interaction with our environment can create situations where the outcome can be predetermined by an individual successfully playing the game of body language, signaling, and inserting subliminal cues into the equation. A simple example of our environment training us is shown during a trip to the local cinema. Commercials run continuously displaying popcorn, soda, and treats prior to the flick and our mouths start to water. Most of us who have any experience going to movies know to buy the appropriate “meal” before entering the seating area because we have been taught that popcorn and soda complete the movie experience. Next time you go to the theater, watch the amount of waste that is thrown away as the customers leave. It is simply amazing. Did they really want it or were they cued and taught to purchase it?

It’s a pretty simple concept. Insert enough cues into the environment and over time, the wanted outcome will eventually happen at a high rate. We are still making the decisions, but our past experience is guiding and weighting the decision due to external factors. Simply put, we are being led to a decision expected by the entity inserting the environmental cues. People and businesses utilize these extremely effective maneuvers to gain an advantage in many situations. I recently read a report on MSNBC featuring two body language experts detailing how you can utilize signals and cues to get “what you want” in life, work, or even in romance. Subtle information at times, even if you’re on the lookout for decision altering cues, can be missed and results in our mind interpreting these signals and thus motivating our decision.

The body language experts provide a few examples of how signals can affect how people think and react. To be viewed as a team player at work, hang up a picture or two of a pet in your cubicle or office. They say people view a pet loving person as loyal. Another example they cite involves creating an aura of power at work. They suggest wearing black outfits because black has been shown to display dominance. Another point they make is to try not and smile as much as you would like. By keeping a neutral face, they say it indicates power and status in the work place. One last tidbit they offer is to offer your boss a hot cup of coffee and engage in a conversation while the boss happily drinks down his morning “wake me up.” Our body language experts inform us that the warm temperature of the drink permeating through the cup and through their body while drinking correlates to us being a warm and likeable person (I personally think this one is a little skewed by the kiss-butt factor).

As you can see, these are very subtle cues within our environment. Over time, we are trained to react to specific cues in a manner which can be predicted. No, it doesn’t work in every situation, but the frequency in which they do is worth the bother to incorporate some of the information body language “experts” suggest. Another simple example of body language carrying subliminal motivation is readily apparent in how our politicians gesture when they are speaking publicly. Next time you watch Obama or McCain speaking to a crowd, watch their hand gestures. Their mannerisms are specifically trained so the public feels “better” when listening to them. Similar to when you speak to someone, you want them to listen intently to you. You want them to be leaning towards you, hanging on your words, not leaning back in a bored state of mind. Our politicians move their arms and hands around while walking around the stage to generate a specific reaction from those who are listening. Anyone remember the Bill Clinton closed hand pump with his thumb over his index finger while speaking? Research that for some interesting homework.

Our environment plays a large part in our decision making, whether we are specifically cognizant of the fact or not. Our minds and bodies have been trained to assimilate data and our responses are generally the same and can be predicted over time. Yes, we are trained like puppies to a certain extent. We like to think we are in control of every single second of our decision making when it comes to our lives, but in reality, we have quite a bit of help. Some of that help comes from people who are intentionally manipulating the environment to create the outcome they wish. Beware of your surroundings and environment, you will begin to notice more and more how your decisions are being affected. You will also spot those who are playing the game for their best interests. Take some time and learn their tricks and turn the tables. Take back a portion of your decision making and throw a wrench into the plans of those who are trying to manipulate your decisions.


2 Responses »

  1. Bob
    on August 14th, 2008 at 10:45 pm:

    I am glad that you brought up puppies, because dogs and other animals can read us through the way we handle ourselves. I have read that if you are confronted with some large animals such as mountain lions to spread your shirt or coat out to make you appear larger than you really are. If you have a child with you to put them up on your shoulders so you will look bigger.

    Also don’t look the animal directly in the eye as this is a challenge. Don’t try to stare the animal down. This is also true to a large extent with humans as well, some more so than others. It is very easy to start a fight with someone just with body language and looking the other person straight in the eyes.

    on August 15th, 2008 at 8:42 am:

    Animals are very much affected by signals and body language. There have been various studies into animal behavior and this knowledge can actually provide insight into human behavior. One thing we know, there is no lack of studies in this field because everyone is looking for an easier way to get what they want. Tricks, signals, behavioral changes… anything to achieve a goal.

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