Perception consists of all kinds of sensory interaction, which gains a subjective structure with the impact of observing external stimulus such as the environment, people, objects, odors, sounds, actions, tastes and colors, and the impact of many different experiences. Subliminal perception is the perception of a series of stimulus which the person is not consciously aware of and gets under the influence involuntarily, in addition to the perception with the five sense organs.
The word ‘subliminal’, which consists of the Latin words ‘sub’ and ‘limen’ (threshold), is usually used for subconscious or sub-threshold. Subliminal can be defined as the whole mental activity that occurs under the threshold of the conscious, and it also acts as a storage for experiences and perceptions to remember and use later. Subliminal perception can be defined as the influence of a series of external stimulus on emotions or actions involuntarily, or in other words, subconsciously.
Messages for subliminal perception can be sent via advertorials, movies, television channels and radios as well as via new media instruments that are probably the most effective ways for affecting today’s informative (cognitive) society. These messages, which remain under the conscious perception level and progress at a stage where only senses and mind can perceive, aim to influence the consumers subconsciously. In fact, consumers are subject to an involuntary perception.
Today, neuromarketing and creating subliminal messages to induce a targeted consumer perception are used as two similar concepts. However, these two concepts are only similar in terms of their field of interest –subconscious interaction. Apart from that, these concepts are completely different from each other.
The most apparent purpose of creating subliminal perception is to persuade and win the consumer at the subconscious level. Indeed, the purpose is to push the purchase button in the brain and bring the consumer into action without realizing by way of sending hidden messages. The main mission of subliminal messages is to leave some positive or negative marks in the minds of consumers, and to make them remember these when necessary. However, neuromarketing does not aim to send such messages or direct consumers towards a certain course of action. On the contrary, it works for explaining how the brain functions of consumers are affected by external factors. In other words, its purpose is not to switch on the purchasing motive in the customers’ brain and put them into action, but to help understand which stimulants make them take the purchasing decision via special techniques (see: http://neuroscience.org.uk/contributing-tools-neuromarketing-studies/). Therefore, neuromarketing is a barometer which helps businesses understand and see the preferences of consumers, and measures the level of their needs, desires and demands.
Author: Asst. Prof. Pınar BACAKSIZ