........During World War II, tacticians found that pilots and gunners were unable to distinguish the silhouettes of planes seen at a distance. In some instances, pilots and gunners even shot down "friendly" planes. To solve this problem, Air Force psychologists developed the tachistoscope, which is simply a machine that flashes words, numbers or images for varying instants of time on a visible screen. By flashing fairly large pictures of friendly and enemy aircraft at slow speeds, while gradually increasing the exposure speed and decreasing the size of the aircraft image, pilots could be quickly trained to recognize even speck-like representations of different planes when flashed at only 1/100th of a second. In fact, U.S. Navy ship gunners were trained to identify more than 2,000 silhouettes at one sitting without a mistake.
........ After the war, C. Farzier Damron at Indiana University used a tachistoscopic technique to teach football quarterbacks how to spot the open pass receiver almost automatically. Damron's method is still being used in training today by collegiate and professional football teams.
........The human brain takes in all the information it needs to build a response from even an image flashed at 1/100th of a second. Keith E. Barenklau at the International Safety Academy, Houston, TX, uses tachistoscopic instruction to teach student drivers to recognize and respond quickly to potential, vehicle-collision situations. Property damage due to traffic accidents costs billions of dollars every year in the U.S., and since collisions kill about 60,000 people per year, teaching collision avoidance in a classroom setting has become quite helpful. Barenklau experimented with learning time periods and found about 20 minutes proved best. Because of the intense concentration needed, student learning seemed to fall off rapidly after 25 minutes elapsed. With their score sheets ready, students were given a verbal cadence signal of "Read-Set-Look" (flash). After each 100th of a second exposure to a traffic situation, students marked down whether they thought there was a potential for a collision (yes or no), and if there was, they must identify the offending vehicle or object. Three or four 20-minute sessions were conducted with 5-minute breaks for each classroom day. Students have had such great success in collision recognition that this method could obviously be used in other areas of technical training.
........Even a monkey can be conditioned to respond to tachistoscopic input. In one experiment done by Drs. I. Arthur Mirsky and Robert E. Miller of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1959, a monkey was first conditioned by showing him a symbol at the same time that he received a painful electric shock. The animal learned to avoid the electric shock by pressing a bar lever as soon as he saw the symbol. Since the monkey's heart beat faster whenever a shock was applied, it also became conditioned to beat faster when only the symbol was presented. Then the researchers shortened the exposure time of the symbol until it was flashed in front of the monkey for only thousandths of a second. They found that the animal's heart would beat faster when the symbol was shown so briefly that it failed to press the lever. In other words, the monkey was not consciously aware of what subconsciously it was perceiving and reacting to on a subliminal level.
........In 1957, a Ft. Lee, NJ drive-in theater tachistoscopically flashed the words DRINK COLA COLA and EAT POPCORN for 1/3000th of a second every 5 seconds over Kim Novak's sensuous face and throughout the movie during a 6-week run of the film Picnic. The subliminal message was the brainchild of NY market researcher, James Vicary, who boasted that Coke sales in the lobby increased 58% and that popcorn sales rose 18%. An avalanche of criticism from outraged citizens and congressmen produced more research on the subject and conflicting results have been bandied ever since. Since subliminal, tachistoscopic advertising was so severely criticized in 1958-59, the concept of subliminal learning has been hard for people to embrace. However, the experience demonstrated that people can be taught to respond positively to very brief images. Researchers have shown that negative personality traits and bad habits can be significantly altered with the use of subliminal suggestions. The human biocomputer, the brain, all too often accumulates many negative programs over a span of years. Positive subliminals can serve to replace these self-limiting, self-imposed feelings of hate, anger, depression, fear, rejection, self-doubt and other non-productive psychological reactions with new and powerful response expressions. Thus, subliminal learning offers a self-help alternative to anybody wishing to avail themselves of it.
........In 1983, self-improvement tapes via tachistoscopic blips were available from Stimutech Inc. to be played through a computer and into your TV. Positive suggestive cues could thereby be absorbed while watching your normal televised programming. A tachistoscopic flash at 1/100th of a second is normally subliminal, but when you are told to expect it, it becomes consciously acknowledgeable. The more unconscious your daily life pattern happens to be, the more susceptible you are to succumbing to subliminal subtleties. If you have a mental block against certain behavior, the affect on such behavior will be lessened using subliminals. If you are open and unsuspecting, the affect is greatly enhanced.
........Since human behavior is an outer manifestation of inner belief systems, subliminal messages can often act as the stimulus to condition a more beneficial response. They have the potential to excite, arouse, anger or pacify human behavior. They can assist memory by attitude changes toward retention of knowledge. In addition to psychological modifications, physiological changes can also be brought about through subliminal input. As the placebo effect in medicine has demonstrated, the mind can bring about cellular changes, and subliminal input can contribute to this process of self-healing with subconscious embeds. As doctors learned in medical school, over 50% of all patients brought into hospitals are suffering from hypochondriacal ailments. By understanding and enhancing the placebo effect or mind over body connection, better insight as to the mind's ability to heal the body can be learned. By examining and altering the negative patterns buried in the subconscious which often manifest themselves into self-punishing, physical ailments, most disease can be prevented and cured. Subliminals can also heighten your immune system in this process. Living cells of the body are naturally designed to preserve themselves. Self-destruct processes occur when negative messages from the subconscious conflict with this self-preservation process. Subliminal input can be used as a tool to correct these imbedded patterns to bring about beneficial changes and personal growth. Of course, as with ordinary learning methods, results vary markedly with the individual.
........In Time magazine, Sept. 10, 1979, an article ran concerning "Secret Voices." The article mentioned that about 50 department stores in the U.S. and Canada have installed a device that commingles the music of Musak system broadcasts with subliminal anti-theft messages ("I am honest. I will not steal. If I do steal, I will be caught and sent to jail."). The words changed slightly every now and then, but the basic message remained the same, and repeated itself 9,000 times every hour. Professor Hal C. Becker invented the little "black box" to deliver the technique through speeded up, barely audible messages (2 1/2 times normal speed) in conjunction with the pleasant background music of the department store (see U. S. patent no. 3,278,676 by Hal C. Becker). (Using a Variable Speech Controller (VSC), recorded speech can be speeded up without increasing the pitch and sounding like Donald Duck.) Results indicated that theft and internal, inventory shrinkage were actually reduced by up to 37% in stores using subliminal messages. Using Becker's "honesty reinforcement and theft deterrent system," one department store company saved more than half a million dollars in only 10 months through cutting shoplifting and employee pilferage. Such success prompted other store chains to order their own secret installations of the system as well.
........Can attitude modification be accomplished by listening to subliminal cassette tapes? Currently, self-improvement tapes are sold by mail-order companies with whisper-like suggestions buried within white noise or the sounds of gentle ocean waves rolling onto the seashore. One study was done by Anthony Greenwald of the University of Washington with 237 volunteers who listened to subliminal cassette tapes (the manufacturing company he used was undisclosed) to improve either memory or self-esteem. Subliminal messages were buried beneath the sound of ocean waves. The labels were reversed so that the memory tapes were labeled self-esteem and vice versa. Testing results showed that the people who listened to mislabeled memory tapes showed no more memory improvement than did those who listened to the mislabeled self-esteem tapes. The people who listened to mislabeled self-esteem cassettes revealed no more improvement in self-esteem than did volunteers in the memory group. BUT -- the results also revealed that all participants in the study scored higher on BOTH memory AND self-esteem tests afterwards, regardless of which tape they heard. You could conclude that memory tapes mislabeled self-esteem improved the memory via subliminal embeds as they improved the listeners self-esteem via the mind's expectation process or placebo effect. A similar conclusion could be drawn with the group listening to the mislabeled self-esteem tapes.
........In July, 1989, one San Diego-based, mail-order firm was challenged by the FDA to correct "misleading claims" about their subliminal cassettes. In a regulatory letter to the company, the FDA charged that promotions of certain tapes as being effective for alleviating pain, relieving depression, kicking addictions, strengthening and activating immune systems, and preventing and fighting cancer, AIDS, arthritis and multiple sclerosis, were "false or misleading or otherwise contrary to fact." The president of the mail-order company insisted that their promotions never claimed those things at all, and that the FDA selected words from their ads out of context. Since most mail-order companies have a 30-day money back guarantee, the best test of subliminal tapes is a personal one. If they work for you, fine. If they don't, simply get your money back.
........The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has no hard and fast rule about subliminals, other than their view that tachistoscopic blips could be regarded as unfair and deceptive advertising practice. The first subliminal TV ad was aired just before Christmas in 1973 with the command "Get it" as a pitch for a children's toy called Husker-Du. When the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) learned of it, they issued a public notice calling subliminal advertising "deceptive and contrary to the public interest." Although the FCC prohibits the use of subliminals in electronic communication, there is no legal penalty attached to a violation of the code. As a consequence, periodic instances of subliminal messages in electronic communication have been reported.
........The Canadian radio station, CIME-FM of St. Therese, Quebec broadcasts anti-mosquito frequencies in their music programming. The station also broadcasts subliminal relaxation messages in the evening and subliminal energizing messages in the morning. In January, 1987, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission decided to no longer prohibit subliminal advertising, and "has asked the industry to come up with its own guidelines.
........Suppose schools had beneficial learning embeds traveling with soothing music throughout the school PA system before classes began?! Who could object to the enhanced potential of learning, especially if those embeds were revealed on the blackboard ahead of time? Even the expectation process would enhance the effect. Perhaps future subliminal learning could conceivably involve flash feed techniques of encoding the brain's memory neurons with bulk information. The contents of books might be programmed into your organic computer in days instead of the years.
........To see whether subliminal tapes can affect behavioral changes, an experimental trial in a state prison by a private research firm could easily be evaluated for its effectiveness in prisoner rehabilitation and to see whether the inmate repeater rate went down significantly or not. As a low cost assist to rehabilitation, subliminal messages could be played amidst soft classical music in prisons. Such music would also have a calming and beneficial effect on inmates and guards alike.
........The above subject is just one of the many creative alternatives mentioned in the new manual, Creative Alternatives For A Changing World offered by: Creative Alternatives, P. O. Box 291, Capon Bridge, WV 26711 USA
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