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There are some persistent myths about human psychology that appear on TV all the time. But people are complicated, and a lot of times, what we (and these shows) take to be true about human nature… may not be as accurate as we think.

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The Truth About Subliminal Messages

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*intro music*
Even if you're a cynical person and you take the things you see on TV with a grain of salt; there are some myths about human psychology that run really deep.  And they might just seem like facts of life, especially when they show up on tv all the time.  But people are complicated and a lot of times what we take to be true about human nature isn't as true as we think.  We've done plenty of episodes about these psychological myths over the last couple of years.  And here we're going to take a look at some of the highlights.  Like, take the idea that subliminal messages can affect the way you act.  
In 1957 the first subliminal messages were hidden in a movie and a year later that form of advertisement was banned in the US.  But can you really be influnced by signals you're totally unaware of?  Britt has the scoop.
In 1957 an advertising executive from New Jersey announced that he had convinced local movie goers at a local theater to buy more popcorn using subliminal messaging.  He claimed that 45 thousand moviegoers were exposed to flashes of the words "eat popcorn!" and "drink coca cola!" on screen during a movie, with the words appearing and disappearing so quickly that viewers weren't even aware they were there.
And as a result, popcorn sales increased an average of 57.5% and coke sales increased 18..1%  He got a Lot of attention for this supposedly scientific test because those numbers are Huge.
It was every advertisers perfect fantasy and every consumers worst nightmare.
The idea that we could be contstantly influnced by messages we don't even realize we're getting, freaked people out.  Except the whole thing was a hoax!
It turned out that there hadn't been an increase in popcorn or coke sales at the theater in question.  And according to the theater manager there hadn't been an experiment at all.  But that hasn't stopped us from beliving in the power of subliminal messages.
Survaes from 1983, 1994, and 2004 show that about three quarters of people who are familiar with subliminal messaging belive that companies use it.  And a majority of those people think that it works.

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