THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Professors See Uncertainty
In Subliminal Perception
"The extent to which subliminal
stimulation techniques become an
important adjunct to already es-
tablished methods of advertising,
depends upon the ability of adver-
tisers to reserve judgement until
a few more of the basic facts are
in," Prof. Richard L. Cutler of the
psychology department said yes-
"If we are going to use new
discoveries, we must ':e careful.
The susceptibilty of Americans to
marry a development after too
short a courtship is well ,known,"
Prof. Elton B. McNeil of the psy-
chology department agreed.
The two men spoke on research
in, and the future of, subliminal
perception at the 1958 Advertising
Subliminal perception, as an ad-
vertising device, can be achieved
through various methods, such as
flashing an ad on a television
screen for a fraction of a second.
It tries to tell the consumer sub-
consciously that he wants to buy a
Eventually, this subliminal stim-
ulated desire comes to the surface
of the consumer's mind, resulting
in his purchase of the product.
Prof. Cutler noted there has been
much talk but little experimenta-
tion on subliminal stimulation
techniques as applicable to adver-
tising. Although the possibility of
its significantly influencing the
consumer exists, thereis no con-
clusive proof available, he said.
May Alter Behavior
6I personally think it is likely
significant alterations in human
behavior may be produced through
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subliminal stimulation," Prof. Cut-
"However, to tamper with the
motives of such individuals seems
at best risky, and at worst com-
pletely unethical and dangerous,"
the psychologist added.
Prof. McNeil explained he was
concerned with the abnormal per-
spective assigned to subliminal re-
search. He emphasized the im-
portance of studies currently being
made in both superliminal' and
"Furthermore, it would be help-
ful to concentrate more of our
efforts on the by-products of such
research," he said. "Advertisers
are in a position to control the
senses. They should concentrate
in getting better direct control
over the individual's mind than
they alreadly have."
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