The hidden persuaders break into the tired brain

C. Bermeitinger, R. Goelz, N. Johr, M. Neumann, Ullrich Ecker, R. Doerr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


There is a long-lasting debate on whether subliminal advertising actually works. In this context there aresome studies suggesting that subjects’ motivation is a crucial point. Karremans et al. [Karremans, J. C.,Stroebe, W., & Claus, J. (2006). Beyond Vicary’s fantasies: The impact of subliminal priming and brandchoice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 792–798] showed that subjects were influenced intheir intention to drink a specific brand of soft drink by a subliminally presented brand prime, but onlyif they were thirsty. In the present study, we adapted their paradigm to the concept of ‘concentration’ andembedded the subliminal presentation of a brand logo into a computer game. Actual subsequent consumptionof dextrose pills (of the presented or a not presented brand) was measured dependent onthe level of participants’ tiredness and the subliminally presented logo. We found the same pattern asKarremans et al. (2006): only tired participants consumed more of the subliminally presented than thenot presented brand. Therefore, the findings confirm that subjects are influenced by subliminally presentedstimuli if these stimuli are need-related and if subjects are in the matching motivational state. 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-326
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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