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Can subliminal messages really influence us?

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Subliminally priming people with the goal “to trust” made them more open to influence:

We investigated the effect of goal priming on the processing of a persuasive message. Before reading a persuasive message about tap water consumption, participants were subliminally primed (or not) with the goal “to trust”. Subsequently, they completed a questionnaire about their perception of the message, the source of the message, and tap water consumption intentions. The results indicated that non-conscious activation of the goal “to trust” leads to a better evaluation of the message, increases behavioral intentions in accordance with the message, and positively influences the assessment of the source.

Source: “Don’t you know that you want to trust me? Subliminal goal priming and persuasion” from Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 48, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 358–360

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