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Exhibition Experiment

March 3, 2011

I set up an experiment as part of my research into subliminal messaging and priming. Using John Bargh’s studies into the effect of word games on peoples mood I created a list of ten scrambled sentences designed to prime readers to feel generous. I included words like give, generous, considerate etc. which would hopefully skip peoples consciousness and be implanted into the subconscious and then be drawn out with additional posters I planted around the venue, these would then hopefully prompt people to place money in the charity box I placed on the exit of the venue.

priming poster

priming experiment

Unfortunately the experiment was a failure due to several circumstances beyond my control. These were:

-My work was placed in an exhibition with 40 or 50 other posters, all screaming slogans and messages at people which filtered the suggestive messages I was trying to implant.

-People were not fully committing to completing the word game and instead just glancing at the poster and moving along due to the volume of other work on display.

-Some of my subliminal posters I placed in the entrance to the exhibition were taken down without my knowledge thus lessening the strength of the idea implanting.

-The test subjects were penniless students who probably didn’t have anything to give even if they wanted to.

-The Charity box was not visible enough due to the layout of the exhibition.

I plan to conduct my next set of experiments under much more controlled circumstances and hopefully get some some usable data that helps confirm the concept of idea implementation.

Also it turns out that my poster made into the Top 10 which was a nice surprise considering that there were around 200 entries.

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