Swift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence

Error message

The spam filter installed on this site is currently unavailable. Per site policy, we are unable to accept new submissions until that problem is resolved. Please try resubmitting the form in a couple of minutes.
TitleSwift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsAcland, CR
PublisherDuke University Press
CityDurham
ISBN9780822349198
Abstract

Since the late 1950s, the idea that hidden, imperceptible messages could influence mass behaviour has been debated, feared, and ridiculed. In Swift Viewing, Charles R. Acland reveals the secret story of subliminal influence, showing how an obscure concept from experimental psychology became a mainstream belief about our vulnerability to manipulation in an age of media clutter. He chronicles the enduring popularity of the dubious claims about subliminal influence, tracking their migration from nineteenth-century hypnotism to twentieth-century front-page news. His expansive history of popular concern about subliminal messages shows how the notion of "hidden persuaders" became a vernacular media critique, one reflecting anxiety about a rapidly expanding media environment. Through a deep archive of eclectic examples, including educational technology in the American classroom, mind-control tropes in science fiction, Marshall McLuhan's media theories, and sensational claims in the late 1950s about subliminal advertising, Acland establishes the subliminal as both a product of and a balm for information overload.