VisionAndPsychosis.Net©

In Wetumpka, AL.

The Wayback Machine will show this site is a 14 year investigation of Subliminal Distraction.

If you wish to help in this project, send the Home page URL to your email list and encourage everyone to do the same.

Preventing Subliminal Distraction episodes, mistaken for mental illness, is simple and free.

 

Copyright 2003   Edit   March ?, 2015

Copyright    Contact page    Demonstration of subliminal sight

If  you  reached this page from a search engine enter the site here,

or see other cases on the Disappearance and College Suicides pages.

 

 

This paper has been edited to eliminate blank spaces caused by formatting conflicts.

 The citation "Tucker 2005" is this site.

The author, Yvette Philips,  was the source for the correct term "Subliminal Distraction."

Page  references refer to the PDF paper.

Illustrations failed in this Adobe Word translation.

PDF Thesis

________________________________________________

 

Interior Design Research Dissertation

 

 

Subject no: 86780

 

3rd June, 2005. Yvette Philips, XXXXX16 

 

 

The ill effects of subliminal stimulation on humans within interior spaces


 

 

 

 

"Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.

Plato, (427 BC - 347 BC)


Table of Contents

 

 

Abstract…………………………………………………………………………5

 Introduction……………………………………………………………………..6

 Chapter one A brief look at consciousness and the subliminal………………8

 Chapter two Examples of ill effects caused by subliminal

 stimulation and the implications for interior design. …………………………24

 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………….37

List of references……………………………………………………………...40

List of illustrations………………………………………………………… 42

Glossary………………………………………………………………….........43

 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………..45


Abstract

 

 

 

This dissertation discusses the ill effects of subliminal stimulation on humans within interior spaces. It looks at the way in which the human psyche functions, and how subliminal stimulation can surpass human sensory perception. It uses some examples of  subliminal  stimuli  to  illustrate  the  ill  effects  they  can  have  on  humans,  and discusses  the  implications  they  have  for  interior  designers,  the  interior  design industry,  and  users  of  space.  It  highlights  the  notion  that  what  humans  do  not perceive, does indeed have an ability to negatively affect them, and that greater consideration   of  this  area   is  necessary   in  order   to  create   healthier   interior environments.


Introduction

 

 

 

 

This dissertation aims to bring insight into the ill effects that can be caused on the human body and mind due to subliminal* stimulation within interior spaces, and the implications that this has for interior design.

 

The topic has been thoughtfully approached as it occurred that issues relating to the subliminal tend to be less discussed in interior design when compared to conscious issues such as aesthetics and function. Most interior designers focus on satisfying their client by meeting their clients needs; however, the exploration into the subconscious and ill effects that can occur within it, help to explain that there may be more to a humans needs than simply meeting what they consciously desire.

 

The  first  chapter  provides  an  introduction  to  the  general  human  psyche,  with particular emphasis on the subliminal realm. It first defines the different levels of consciousness and explains their role in the functioning of a human being. This is a necessary  component  in order  to  understand  the  second  chapter  which  discusses specific examples of how stimulation can occur below the threshold of human perception. The first chapter also attempts to display the extent to which human perception can reach. It explains to what degree human sensory perception reaches, and at what point a human can be stimulated beyond their sensory perception. Additionally, it illustrates a brief history and testing of deliberate subliminal stimulation. This information has been strategically placed at the conclusion of the first  chapter,  as  it  leads  into  the  second  chapter  which  discusses  some  current practices of unintentional subliminal stimulation.

*Key words and phrases appear in italics and have a clear definition under the Glossary section (pp.43-44).         6 

The second chapter discusses the ill effects of subliminal stimulants on the human body and mind within interior spaces. It requires the understanding of the general human  psyche,  as  outlined  in  chapter  one,  as it  builds  on  this  understanding  to explain how humans can be negatively stimulated within interior spaces.  It uses examples  to  demonstrate  the  ill  effects  of  three  subliminal  stimulants  that  are regularly used or are in contact with human beings. Furthermore, is discusses the far reaching implications that these subliminal stimuli have for the design industry, the designers and the users of interior spaces.

 

The exploration into this topic aims to challenge the way designers think in terms of approaching and designing in a world that they perceive as fixed and true. Human beings trust their senses to provide them with information that is relevant to them regarding the environment that they are in. Yet what they do not perceive, can negatively affect them. This does not demonstrate a failure on the behalf of human sensory perception, but rather demonstrates a failure of thoughtfulness and awareness in the minds of designers and inventors who design or implement subliminal stimuli into environments. Consequently, this dissertation looks to provoke its readers into thinking  about  what  else  shares  their  environment  that  they  do  not  perceive,  as human sensory perception can only reach so far.


Chapter One

 

 

In 1977 Karl Popper wrote that; “All experience is already interpreted by the nervous system a hundredfold or a thousand fold; before it becomes conscious experience(Dixon 1981, p.ii). Popper’s statement has enticed exploration into the workings of the subconscious  and the way in which humans are able to be stimulated beyond their awareness,  and thus, this statement has formed the basis of the first chapter within this dissertation. Popper’s statement recognises that humans do not process their experiences on simply one level. There are other levels of processing (that are not  initially  evident  to  humans)  which  influence  their  experiences.  This  is  an extremely important notion to consider in interior design, as interior design is about directing and creating experience for humans. In order to successfully influence and create experience, an interior designer must first understand the way in which perception and processing occurs within humans.

Chapter one aims to first identify the various definitions of consciousness and the varying degrees of it. It then illustrates why these different degrees of consciousness are necessary and looks at how they work to the benefit (or otherwise) of the human being. The chapter describes the threshold point between the conscious and subconscious realms, and lastly provides a brief historical background regarding the testing of deliberate subliminal stimulation. This historical background has been strategically placed at the conclusion of the chapter. It has been placed here as the information  prior  to it helps  to make  it more  comprehensible.  It also allows  for logical transition into chapter two, which discusses further examples of subliminal stimulation.


The various definitions and varying degrees of consciousness

 

 

 

 

Humans possess what is known as a consciousness, which (to a wide degree) allows them to experience their environment. However, human experience does not occur within, and is not processed by, one realm of consciousness alone. The human mind has varying degrees of consciousness and has beautifully evolved to perceive its environment  often  without  a  humans  full  awareness.  To  better  understand  the different degrees of consciousness it is necessary to define them. This will aid in distinguishing between, and identifying the different characteristics of, the varying degrees of consciousness. In understanding consciousness it is possible to see how human experience in space is able to be manipulated and affected through the subconscious realm.

 

 

 

Consciousness is a topic that has been studied by philosophers for hundreds of years. It was defined by William James (1842 – 1910), an American philosopher and psychologist, as the tool that enables individuals to select their own courses of action. It is the function of knowing, the idea that an individual lies in a particular state of awareness with regard to themselves and their environment. Consciousness can be further  defined  in  seven  ways.  Firstly,  it  can  be  defined  as  joint  or  mutual knowledge,  secondly  as internal  knowledge  or conviction,  i.e.  being  aware  of ones behaviour, and thirdly as a state of awareness through internal and external sensory confirmation. The fourth definition of consciousness is direct awareness or what passes in a mans mind” as Thomas Natsoulas stated; the fifth being awareness without  sensory  confirmation,   and  the  sixth  as  a  “state  of  wakefulness   and attentiveness  to stimuli  or to events in ones environment.  The seventh  and last definition  of  consciousness,  with  reference  to  Thomas  Natsoulas  again,  is  the processing of information at various levels of awareness or having a double- consciousness (Fisher  &  Wallace,  1999).     These  definitions  agree  that consciousness  is a condition of the human body and mind at an attentive state to ones internal self and external environment. The definitions have been summarised in Figure 1.0 below.

 

 

1. Joint or mutual knowledge.

2. Internal knowledge or conviction.

3. A state of awareness through internal and external sensory confirmation.


4. Direct awareness. What passes in a man’s mind.

5. Awareness without sensory confirmation.

6. State of wakefulness and attentiveness to stimuli or to events in one’s environment.


7. Processing of information at various levels of awareness. Having a double-consciousness


The seven definitions of consciousness (Fisher & Wallace, 1999) Figure 1.0

 

The fifth and seventh definitions awareness without sensory confirmation and the processing of information at various levels of awareness or having a double consciousness support a hazy, yet justifiable, distinction between what is thought to be strictly conscious and subconscious or subliminal. These two definitions seem to fit more closely to the definition of subconscious. Subconscious, as defined by the Merriam  Webster  dictionary,  means  existing  in  the  mind  but  not  immediately available to consciousness, indicating that the brains subconscious level functions within both the conscious and (in some cases) the unconscious realm.

 

The term subconscious  very closely relates to the term subliminal,  which literally means below threshold (Stark, 1999). In this case, the threshold is the point at which stimuli are acknowledged in conscious thought. The word subliminal (which is technically archaic due to the introduction of signal detection theory in psychology in

1967 by Green & Swets) (Stark, 1999), when coupled with the word stimulation, refers to any stimulus that affects the human body, mind and/or senses from outside ones awareness.

 

This therefore highlights that there is also a difference between the states of subconsciousness   and   unconsciousness.   Unconsciousness,   as   defined   by   the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means; not knowing or perceiving: not aware.

 

Unconsciousness  is  thus  the  opposite  of  consciousness.  Humans  cannot  function within the realms of consciousness and unconsciousness at the same time. However, they are able to function in either the conscious or unconscious realm as well as functioning within the subconscious realm simultaneously. This is illustrated diagrammatically in Figure 2.0 below.








Conscious realm        Subconscious realm        Unconscious realm                                                    




 


 

Human consciousness: the diagram illustrates how the subconscious realm works in the background to the conscious and unconscious realm. However, a human cannot function in both the conscious and unconscious realm simultaneously. The subconscious will only work within one other realm, depending on whether the human is conscious or unconscious.

Figure 2.0

 

 

In fact, as will next be discussed in this chapter, the ability of humans to function in this way is imperative to their survival.   It is fair to state then, that the term subconscious is a term used to describe a position in the mind where processing can occur during both the contrasting stages of consciousness and unconsciousness. The term subliminal refers to the effect that certain stimuli can have on the human mind that is recognized in the subconscious realm, after passing through the unconscious or conscious spheres without being perceived.


The different stages of consciousness and their function

 

It is intriguing that the human mind works in this manner; that while experiences are taking place in the conscious realm, the subconscious realm is actively working in the background, without the awareness of the human. This allows for the questioning of  the  purpose   of  this  subconscious   function.   The  reality   that  the  brain   is subconsciously processing stimuli from its environment (and using it to develop an understanding  of its current experience) without acknowledgment  in the conscious state seems phenomenal. On the surface this functioning appears meaningless - for what  good  is  this  processing  if  humans  are  not  aware  of  it?    However,  when considered  more  closely  the  function  of  the  subconscious  realm  is  extremely valuable. Simply because humans are unaware of their subconscious processing does not mean that the processing has no purpose

 

The  stages  of  conscious,  unconscious,  and  subconscious  processing  each  have specific purposes for the functioning of a human being. The human brain and sensory system has evolved to accept and respond to many stimuli, particularly due to the desire for survival, and the brain (usually instinctively) is phenomenally able to determine which stimuli are suited to which stage of awareness.

The conscious state allows for humans to make sense of themselves and their environment. Humans use their senses to perceive their environment and themselves, to comprehend,  and to make sense of the world that they are in. The unconscious state comes about when the body is required to shut down” in order to aid survival. For example, sleeping is a required state of unconsciousness that assists the proper functioning  of  the  individual,  when  conscious,  thus  increasing  the  chances  of  survival. Another example might be an individual passing out of consciousness into unconsciousness  as a result  of bodily  trauma.  This  is a survival  mechanism  that allows the bodys energy to be used more efficiently in healing the body by shutting down consciousness.   The subconscious state is an exceptional realm that allows an individual to be processing its self-thoughts and environment without full awareness in the conscious  realm.  The  purpose  of this  state  of awareness  is that it aids in survival  by alerting  the individuals  conscious  state  (and  sometimes  unconscious state) to any changes in its self or environment, if the conscious or unconscious self is  busy performing  its  usual  function  (Dixon,  1981).  This  means  that  the subconscious will interrupt the functioning of the conscious, and some states of unconsciousness, if it detects a threat to survival.

 

 

 

The  function  and  workings  of  the  different  stages  of  consciousness  are  thus invaluable to the survival of the human being and it is necessary to explore just how the brain filters and directs stimuli through to each level of consciousness.

As mentioned, the brain has developed as a tool to aid survival. The way in which it assists survival is by its processing techniques. The brain will accept stimuli and measure them against our learned experiences, expectations,  needs, and values. It will also make predictions continuously, make assumptions, judge expectancy, and create perceptual hypothesises and schemata in order to process stimuli quickly and efficiently. These processes, which are occurring mainly within the subconscious, help to efficiently service the conscious realm by providing information that is based partially on the actual stimulus and partially based on what the individual expects or predicts (Dixon, 1981). This is an effective way to assess ones self and environment


as a human would not be able to deal with complex problems and situations if the brain did not have this processing technique.

This processing technique lends to what is called habituation this is where the human is relaxed due to the familiarities of an environment fading out of awareness (Fisher & Wallace, 1999). Habituation occurs when the brain recognizes the aspects of an environment as stable, allowing them to drop away from consciousness in order to make processing  space available for new information  of higher priority. Within the subconscious realm, the brain is still processing any new information and making sense of it, determining if it is a threat to the individuals survival.

It is these techniques of comparison, prediction, and habituation that lead humans to respond to changes in their environment, rather than responding to the situations that they expect. While humans have different states of readiness which determine what they notice and what they do not, it is acceptable to say that the subconscious will interrupt the conscious and some stages of unconsciousness in the event of changes in the environment. So as the conscious state is comfortably habituated, the subconscious   state   is   ready   to   interrupt   habituation   should   change   in   the environment occur (Dixon, 1981).

The understanding of the varying degrees of consciousness and their functions are thus useful tools for interior designers who intend to create experience for users. If interior  designers  are able  to understand  why these  differing  degrees  of consciousness  are  needed  and  how  they  work,  they  are  better  equipped  with knowledge that they can use to design successful spaces for human experience.


The path of subconscious processing

 

 

To  better  understand  the  functioning  and  techniques  of  the  human  mind,  it  is necessary to briefly explore how the subconscious processing occurs.

All conscious representation (i.e. what humans perceive in their conscious realm) requires subconscious processing. This means that the subconscious sphere must process  the stages  of structural  analysis  as well as semantic  analysis,  and access stored sensory information in order to make the comparisons and predictions outlined previously (Dixon, 1981). Yet, the monitoring capacity of the senses is far more sophisticated  than the conscious state has capacity for, which subsequently  means that a large amount of sensory information that has undergone processing (up to a semantic level) will never achieve conscious representation. To take this one step further and, interestingly enough, the residue that lies unrepresented in consciousness may have profound effects upon the processes of perception, memory and emotional responses,  as  well  as  consciousness  itself  (Dixon,  1981).     This  point  will  be discussed in more depth in Chapter two.

There  is  proof  that  subconscious  processing  occurs  in  this  way,  especially  with regard  to  the  habituation   of  an  individual   and  the  sudden  awareness   of  an environmental aspect once a change occurs within it. Binocular rivalry (where one eye assumes dominance over another) is a good example of this. In situations where one  eye  is  better  suited  to  accept  a  certain  stimulus,  this  (one)  eye  assumes dominance and the visual information from this eye only is accepted in conscious representation. However, as soon as change occurs in the field of the subservient eye, the subservient eye immediately assumes dominance and the visual information from the subservient eye takes priority in conscious representation. It is paradoxical that the un-sensing organ should provide the most important information, but binocular rivalry is a clear example of how subconscious processing works, and of how suppressed sensory channels do continue to register and process information up to a high level.

Subconscious processing and the suppressed sensory channels that it receives stimulation from, are thus not dysfunctional, but given high priority for future access to consciousness due to the nature of their perception as a survival technique. As demonstrated by binocular rivalry, changes will be initiated by a stimulus from a suppressed channel rather than a stimulus on the previously dominant channel. Additionally, even when no change occurs on suppressed channels, these are periodically assessed by the subconscious (Dixon, 1981). The workings of the subconscious  realm  are  thus  an  invaluable  mechanism  for  assessing  and understanding ones environment.

 

 

The threshold point that defines conscious and subconscious stimulation

 

 

The discoveries into the workings of the subconscious realm have made it evident that almost all stimuli must filter through the subconscious  realm. However,  it is also evident that most of what is subconsciously processed does not reach conscious representation  (Dixon,  1981).  As  Figure  3.0  demonstrates,  approximately  fifty- percent of stimuli go unrepresented in consciousness. (The Absolute Threshold is arbitrarily measured as the point at which we perceive stimulus) (Stark, 1999).


 

Human perception of stimuli

 

(2005, <http://www.talkaboutonline.org/musicprg/Docs/dgm_psyc.html>)

 

Figure 3.0

 

 

 

Additionally,  human  senses  only consciously  perceive  stimuli  to a certain  extent. Figure 4.0 poetically illustrates the degree to which the standard human senses can

consciously perceive stimulation.

 


Sense Absolute threshold

Vision A candle flame can be seen from 30 miles away on a clear, dark night.

Hearing A watch can be heard ticking from 20 feet away in a quiet room.


Taste A teaspoon of sugar can be tasted in 2 gallons of water. Smell


A drop of perfume can be smelled when circulated into 6 large rooms.

Touch A fly’s wing can be felt falling onto one’s cheek from a height of 1 centimet



Absolute thresholds (Darley et. al., 1991)

 

 

Figure 4.0


Furthermore, Figure 5.0 below illustrates the limitations and tolerance  levels of other stimuli   that  are  perceived   consciously  through   both  standard   and  non-standard

human senses (e.g. balance).

 

 

 

a.... o"' - X:=·= o-o

a :o

Z<>"

0  ;;:

., "0

O::t:O.

< 0

...,  0.

E

Q

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


N01Sf.

{ dec.iDei )

ovoid 'on1inoed  silen ce


1- -----f---TEMPERATURE

< o·F    (degree Fahrenheit)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0-

0,..

0

0

 
",.'. ..

:;

u

 
1-o.

E

0::   0

E...-

 

 

 

 

THe:· BAND    BETWEEN  THE   CIRCLES  INDICATES  THE  ZONE  FROM COMFORT   TO   THE   TOLER- AN E  LIMIT.                      OUTSIDE THI$  LIM IT  GR EAT   DISCOMFORT  OR   PHYSIOLOGICAL   HAR M   IS  EN- COUNT"ERED.          OTHER   FACTOR·S   NOT   SHOWN  AND  TO   BE   CONS IDERED   ARE:            INFRA- RED RADIAT ION, ULTRA-SONIC  V IBRATIONS, NOXIOUS   GASES, OUST,  POLLEN, CHEMICALS S  FUNGI.

 

1966 HENRY DREYFUSS

 

 

C omfort and tolerance levels of perceived stimuli

 

(Dreyfuss, 1966)

 

Figure 5.0

Illustration did not copy correctly. 


Beyond these limitations, humans are able to perceive stimuli on a subconscious or subliminal level. As previously mentioned, the subconscious realm generally is continually assessing the self and environment to locate any changes to alert the conscious state to. However, it is also possible to deliberately stimulate the subconscious  process  with  subliminal  stimulants.  These  include  stimuli  of  low intensity or short duration (Stark, 1999), and require at least five factors (that are the same as those required in unintentional subconscious stimulation) to progress into the state of consciousness.  These are: the strength  of the signal, external  noise level, internal noise level, meaning of the signal, and the subjects direction of attention (Dixon, 1981). These factors govern whether the subliminal stimulant will achieve conscious representation. If the stimuli are not intended to affect the conscious state then, as Dixon (1981) states; there must be a level of stimulus energy sufficiently great to activate peripheral receptors and cortical reception areas but insufficiently intense to produce an effect in consciousness.

 

 

Deliberate subliminal stimulation: a history of background and testing

 

 

Indeed, the deliberate influencing and effects of subliminal stimulation have been widely tested over the past one hundred years. Interest in the subliminal can be traced back  to  the  early  1900s  when  Otto  Poetzl  studied  the  effect  of  rapidly  flashed images   on   dreams   (Stark,   1999).   By   the   1950s   an   invention   named   the

Tachistoscope   spurred  public  controversy  and  pushed  concern  into  research. Invented  as a device  to rapidly flash images in attempts  to train fighter pilots to quickly  identify  an  enemy  (Stephens,  2005),  it  became  a  sensory  curiosity  that promptly  attracted  the  advertising  industry.  Around  1956,  advertisers  were  using


subliminal   techniques   in  their   marketing   campaigns   (‘drink   Coca-Cola,   eat popcorn) during the preview periods prior to movies. Visual messages were said be encoded  into  various  mediums  such  as  the  word  sex’  written  imperceptibly  on cracker packets, erotic images in liquor advertising, and hidden sexual symbols in childrens movies. Understandably, controversy arose as James Vicary (a market research  consultant  claiming to influence  the buying behaviour  of movie patrons) was challenged by people such as Vance Packard, who created social fear about subliminal influencing (Stark, 1999).

However, this period of controversy led the way to research and discovery within the field of subliminal stimulation. Five different types of deliberate subliminal stimulation have been noted.

The first is what is known as the Mere Exposure Effect, or Subliminal Perceptual Priming.  This  is  where  subjects  are  exposed  to  an  image,  without  conscious awareness, that leads them to favour that image over others. An example of the Mere Exposure  Effect  can be noted  in the test conducted  by Kunst-Wilson  & Zajonc,

1980. Subjects were repeatedly shown a series of geometric figures, each for less than 0.01 second. They were only able to recognize a flash of light in the conscious state,  but  subconsciously  could  process  the  image  beyond  their  awareness.  The subjects were then shown a range of figures including those that had been flashed, and others that had not. The subjects picked out the images that had been flashed as desirable, despite having no idea as to which had or had not been flashed. Variations of the Mere Exposure Effect have been demonstrated and documented by Whalen et al,  1998,  to  activate  emotional  centres  of  the  brain,  particularly  the  amygdala, without awareness (Stark, 1999). Another example is the test conducted by Rollman and Nachmias,1972.  They first presented subliminal stimuli to subjects, then later


asked them to pick from a range which stimuli were present or absent. Even when the subject responded absent, the experiment conductor would ask them to guess the  colour  that  the  stimulus  may  have  been.  The  subjects  guessed’  correctly, proving the effect of the subliminal stimulation (Dixon, 1981).

The  second  method  of  deliberate  subliminal  stimulation  is  known  as  the  Poetzl Effect, named after Otto Poetzl and his contribution to this field. This is where words or images, subliminally  perceived,  appear in altered form in imagery or dreams a short time later (Stark, 1999).

The third method is called Affective Priming, where the subconscious exposure to an emotionally compelling image causes a subject to respond emotionally without knowing why (Stark, 1999).

The fourth method is known as Semantic Priming and has been thought to yield the best evidence for proving the process of subliminal perception. Semantic priming is where subliminal exposure to a word, lasting only around one hundred milliseconds, tends to bias the subjects perception of subsequent words for a fraction of a second. For example subjects, unaware of “seeing the word, can be asked to distinguish whether the word was real or nonsensical. This is slightly different from the Mere Exposure Effect as it directly relates to semantics and not pictorial information (Stark, 1999).

The fifth and final type of deliberate subliminal stimulation is called Psychodynamic Activation. Here, exposure to certain kinds of fantasy images or subliminal suggestion can influence the mental state or psychosocial adaptation in a meaningful and persistent way. This is one of the oldest and most intriguing methods of subliminal stimulation as it can enter dreams and waking imagery in an altered way as documented by Shevrin, 1986. It has the ability to influence later recall and


perception and, most remarkably, even influence our social functioning (Stark,

 

1999). This method is, however, the most difficult to prove due to both the individual differences and psychological state of the subject, together with the vagaries of subjective interpretation of results.

  

This chapter has explored  the various definitions  and varying degrees of consciousness, the functions of the different stages of consciousness and the purpose and workings of the subconscious  realm. It has attempted to display the extent to which human perception can reach, whether consciously or subconsciously, and has illustrated  a  brief  history  and  testing  of  deliberate  subliminal  stimulation.  This chapter, together with the second chapter, aims to discuss the effects that negative subliminal stimulation can have on humans and the implications for interior design.


Chapter Two

 

 

 

Chapter one defined and discussed consciousness, and the way in which the human psyche functions and experiences its environment in relation to it. It described how humans are able to perceive  stimuli without their own conscious awareness.  This second  chapter  further  elaborates  on  the  topic  of  subliminal  stimulation  within humans,  especially its ill effects. The chapter has not been structured  to describe which senses accept which subliminal stimulation, as it has been found that humans do not have senses for some subliminal stimuli. For example, it is impossible to link the sensation of Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) to any human sense, despite the evidence that EMFs are felt and affect the human body. This is the case for numerous subliminal stimuli, for if stimulation is occurring subconsciously then through what medium is it entering? Infrasound is not consciously heard, so how can it be classed as a sound that is perceived through the ears? For this reason, the chapter has been structured to first discuss what is meant by ill effects relating to the human body and  mind.  Next,  the  chapter  gives  examples  of  subliminal  stimuli  that  cause  ill effects, and argues the implications that subliminal stimuli causing ill effects have for the design industry, designers, and users of interior space.

 

 

The definition of “ill effects relating to the human body and mind

 

 

It is necessary to define what is meant by ill effects on the human body and mind when discussing the effects of subliminal stimulation on human beings.

The majority of texts discuss how a medium  can subliminally  stimulate  a human beings body and/or mind, yet few discuss the implications and effects this type of stimulation can have; the negative of which is the topic for the second chapter of this dissertation. Only a few articles (Sarimov, R. et al. 2004, Kangmin, Z. et al. 2003, Huynh,  M.C.  &  Stutzman,  W.  2004,  Bedard  Jr,  A.  J.  & Georges,  T.M.,  2000  ) engage the subject of subliminal stimulation and provide evidence of ill or negative effects that have occurred within the human body and/or mind as a result.

  

Ill or negative effects on the human body and mind mean any unhealthy change that occurs within the mind or body, particularly related to the effects of subliminal stimulation. When discussing the human body, ill or negative effects relates to any negative disruption in the normal, healthy, functioning of a human body where the body will become disadvantaged in some way after its exposure to the subliminal stimulation. An example, as will be illustrated further into this chapter, would be the disruption of a biological cell function or structure resulting in cell mutation or in increased risks of diseases such as cancer. Ill or negative effects on the human mind relates  to any disturbances  in the  normal,  healthy,  functioning  of a human  mind where the workings and processes of a mind will become inhibited in some way after exposure to subliminal stimulation.  An example, as will be illustrated further into this chapter, would be the condition of psychosis brought about by aggravation of the mind   through   subliminal   peripheral   vision   irritation.   Examples   of  subliminal stimulants that have had ill effects on the human body and mind will be presented to acknowledge  that  subliminal  stimulation  not  only  can  occur,  but  also  can  have negative effects on humans.


Examples of subliminal stimulation that cause ill effects

  

This chapter will discuss three examples that illustrate ill effects on the human body or mind due to subliminal stimulation. Ill effects have been associated with certain frequencies,  infrasound,  and  rear-approaching  objects  and  the  peripheral  vision reflex.

 

Certain frequencies are a type of subliminal stimuli that produces negative effects on the human body.  Electromagnetic and micro waves are two frequencies that can negatively affect the human body. They are produced by appliances that require electricity to operate. This means they are widespread in interior environments. Their use  worldwide  has  especially  increased  over  the  past  two  decades  due  to  the increasing desires for personal communication and the consequent demand for the necessary  appliances  and  technologies  to  foster  this  desire  (Huynh  &  Stutzman,

2004). Electromagnetic and micro waves are distinguished by their frequency range in  hertz  (Hz);  electromagnetic  waves  range  between  3  kHz  to  300  GHz,  and microwaves range between several hundred MHz to several GHz. Furthermore, electromagnetic waves can be classed as ionizing or non-ionizing, depending on the magnitude of the wave. (Ionizing is a process that requires a high level of electromagnetic energy in order to strip electrons from atoms and molecules). Additionally, they can be broken down into thermal and non-thermal classifications depending on their heating effect on biological material. (Huynh & Stutzman,

2004 pg.2).

These frequencies, like the majority of frequencies, are undetectable to the human senses. They are below the threshold of human sensory perception in that they cannot be seen, heard, touched, tasted or smelled with the normal human senses. They are not, however, beyond the conceptual perception of humans who have the ability to learn of their existence, just not through their own information receivers (i.e. their senses). Human thus rely on technology to measure the existence of Electromagnetic Frequencies/waves  (EMFs)  and  Microwaves  (MWs),  yet  their  bodies  are subliminally stimulated beyond their sensory perception and, unfortunately, these unperceivable EMFs and MWs can have negative effects on the human body.

 

EMFs  and  MWs  have  the  ability  to  subliminally  stimulate  the  human  body negatively. The two studies involving EMFs and MWs which will be discussed have reported to have found negative impacts on the human body.

The first study, reported in the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science (Sarimov, R. et al., 2004) illustrated that the use of the non-thermal Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) …under specific conditions of exposure, affected human lymphocytes  similar  to stress  response.  The  data  suggested  that  the  MW  effects differ at various GSM frequencies and vary between donors (Sarimov et al., 2004, pg 1600). This means that the use of the GSM (by mobile phone) can affect humans by  altering  chromatin   conformation   in  the  human  lymphocytes   and  possibly contributes to a relationship between neuronal damage and damage to human deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA – the building blocks of life and individual characteristics), the latter of which was found by testing rats (Sarimov et al., 2004). While Huynh & Stutzman (2004) stated that “Non thermal effects are not very well understood and Evidence of harmful biological effects is ambiguous. ( Huynh & Stutzman, 2004, p. 25), the study reported by Sarimov, R. et al. (2004) clearly found evidence of a negative effect on the human body.

The second study, reported by the American Journal of Epidemiology (Kangmin, Z. et al., 2003) showed how the use of electrical bed-warming appliances (such as the electric blanket) were linked to a risk in breast cancer in African-American women. This study made reference to similar studies conducted on Caucasian women and agreed that the link between electrical bed-warming devices and risk of breast cancer in  Caucasian  women  was  also  evident,  however,  it  did  notice  a  stronger  risk association in the African-American women. The study stated that:

 

EMFs can suppress production of melatoninMelatonin can suppress production of oestrogen, directly inhibit breast cancer cell growth, and boost immune function. As a result of suppression of melatonin production, oestrogen levels may rise, breast cancer cells may grow faster, and the immune function that controls cell transformation may be depressed, increasing the risk of breast cancer.

(Kangmin, Z. et al., 2003, p. 798).

 

 

Additionally, the article suggested that EMFs may have a negative effect on calcium homeostasis which can increase the risk of breast cancer. Thus, the effect of electric bedding devices on the health of a human can be noted as negative, and especially frightening considering these appliances may be the highest contributors of electromagnetic exposure to humans from residential appliances due to their EMF density, prolonged exposure, and intimate contact (Kangmin, Z. et al., 2003). 

 

Infrasound  is  another  method  of  subliminal  stimulation  that  has  had  reported negative effects on the human body. Infrasound is a low frequency noise that is inaudible to humans. It can be generated by both humans (by creating a device to output infrasound) and by natural phenomena (e.g. storms, seasonal winds, weather patterns,   some   types   of   earthquakes).   (Debunking   guide   Spooky   infrasound Alternative medicine lg Nobel prizes,  2003)

Figure 6.0 (below) illustrates the pressure and frequency of infrasound.

 

 

 

 

 

THRESHOLD OF HUMAN HEARING at low frequencies. The low-frequency domain of infrasound lies to the left of the nominal threshold of human hearing and feeling on this pressure-versus-frequency diagram. The regions occupied by familiar sounds are at the right. Frequencies below about 1 Hz can travel relatively undiminished for hundreds or thousands of kilometres through the atmosphere. The curve at the lower left roughly indicates the present limit of detectability imposed by atmospheric winds and turbulence.

(Bedard & Georges, 2000)

 

Figure 6.0


Infrasound can be considered as subliminal as it occurs below the sensory awareness threshold  of human  beings.  Humans  are unable  to perceive  infrasound  with their basic  five  senses,  yet  are  somehow  aware  of  infrasound  via  other  information receivers. As will be discussed, some