1993-10-24 - Re: Subliminal Channels

Header Data

From: “Perry E. Metzger” <pmetzger@lehman.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 7067f787fcb0bcc13ad599f0207e2760fcfed56be9cba700664a54e4304485b0
Message ID: <9310240508.AA03859@snark.lehman.com>
Reply To: <Pine.3.05.9310232101.A28131-c100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-10-24 05:13:09 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 23 Oct 93 22:13:09 PDT

Raw message

From: "Perry E. Metzger" <pmetzger@lehman.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 93 22:13:09 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Subliminal Channels
In-Reply-To: <Pine.3.05.9310232101.A28131-c100000@jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu>
Message-ID: <9310240508.AA03859@snark.lehman.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Alexander Reynolds says:
> > Moreover, tests of the "embedded sex objects" hypothesis don't pan out.
> > It turns out that (a) people don't notice them unless they have been
> > predisposed to (ie:"find the penis in the photo") and (b) whether or
> > not there is an embed in the photo has no meaningful effect on the
> > viewer.
> Advertisers have found that such "artists jokes" as you call them are
> profit makers.

My friend Harry S. Hawk, who runs the Extropians list, works for an ad
agency. I remember his reaction once to a news report about the nose
on Joe Camel being a penis. He said, more or less...

"yeah, I can see it now. The big guys are all in a meeting in the
conference room, and they call in the artist and tell him 'It looks
good, but frankly, it needs to be more, well, penis shaped. The nose,
that is.'"

No credible studies have ever shown that people notice subliminal
messages. No credible studies have ever shown any of these "embedded
images", either. If you believe they are there, it should be easy to
find them. Take a scanner, scan in any newspaper image. Display only
small subsets of the grey levels at once and your supposed subliminal
messages should pop right out -- only you won't see a thing because
they aren't there.

Sure, sex sells -- look at any beer ad. But that is a different
question. The notion that advertisers are going around deliberately
incorporating hidden sexual imagery in an effort to boost sales has as
much credibility as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".


PS By the way, none of this paranoia has anything to do with cryptography.