Project #28498 - Subliminal"

 

Your friend Carlos, who is determined to quit smoking, purchased a subliminal persuasion audio-/videotape package.  The booklet accompanying the tapes claims that subliminal suggestions “harness the power of the unconscious mind to increase motivation to quit smoking.”  Carlos is somewhat skeptical, but he decides to try the demonstration included on the videotape.  He follows the instructions to turn off the room lights, start the videotape, and stare at a fixation point (i.e., a plus sign that appears in the center of the television screen) until the screen goes blank.  During the demonstration, which lasts about five minutes, Carlos occasionally notices a flash of light on the screen just above the fixation point. 

Shortly after the screen goes blank, several geometric figures (including a square, a circle, a triangle, and a rectangle) appear above the question, “Which of these figures is most pleasing to you?”  Although he is not sure why, Carlos picks the triangle.  The tape ends with the following message:

“If you picked the triangle, subliminal persuasion will work for you!” 

During the demonstration, what appeared to be flashes of light were actually subliminal presentations of triangles.  The triangles, which appeared too briefly to be perceived by your conscious mind, were perceived by your unconscious mind.  Since familiarity breeds fondness, your unconscious mind persuaded you to profess a preference for the triangle.  Similarly, the subliminal suggestions on the audiotape will help your unconscious mind persuade you that smoking is unhealthy, unflattering, and something you definitely do not want to continue doing.”

 

Note: As always, when considering the questions below, it would be better (i.e., worth more points) if your answers are more informative than a mere “yes” or “no,” or a few sentences.  Keep in mind that each essay is worth 5% of your course grade.  In other words, a response limited to just a couple of sentences is very unlikely to earn credit.  So think very carefully about the question that’s being asked, determine what information is needed to construct a good answer to that question, and then compose your answer in essay form.

First, consider the assertions made in the subliminal persuasion videotape:

- Can you state these assertions in your own words (and in more specific terms)?

- Were all the important concepts and terms in the assertions adequately defined?

- Were the important concepts and terms defined operationally?

- Should the important terms, variables, etc., have been defined differently?  If so, then how?

Second, consider the evidence provided in support of the assertions:

- State (precisely) what the evidence was and whether it was empirical evidence (i.e., based on objective observation of data).

- Discuss whether the evidence was based on valid scientific research.

- Discuss whether the evidence, in fact, supported the assertions.

Next, evaluate the proposed theoretical explanation provided at the end of the videotape:

- Does the explanation make sense (i.e., based on the evidence)?

- Are there any alternative explanations that could adequately explain the data?

- Please state your alternative explanation(s) and state why the evidence provided in the videotape failed to rule them out.

- Explain how well your alternative explanation would be supported by the evidence provided

  by the demonstration on the videotape (i.e., why you believe the data would support your alternative explanation)..

- Finally, can you think of an experiment that would properly test your alternative explanation against the one proposed on the videotape?

Subject Science
Due By (Pacific Time) 04/26/2014 02:00 pm
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