Subliminal cues can reverse age stereotypes and increase your strength.

Two recent studies on subliminal messages have found that subconscious visual cues can improve athletic performance and reduce negative age stereotypes of physical ability. The latest research shows that subliminal messages have the power to fortify your inner strength and boost self-confidence on and off the court.

Subliminal visual cues are words, pictures or symbols that are unidentifiable to your conscious awareness. Subliminal stimuli happens so quickly that it is literally “below the threshold” of your conscious mind.

Visual stimuli that is flashed for just a few milliseconds can be absorbed at a subconscious level before your conscious mind has time to interpret the incoming visual stimuli. The effect of subliminal messages can be positive or negative depending on the content of the messages being flashed before your eyes.

A Brief History of Subliminal Messaging

The concept of subliminal messaging took hold in the public consciousness after the 1957 publication of a book titled The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard. In his book, Packard introduces the idea of subconscious messaging that advertisers could use to influence consumers.

In the summer of 1957, James Vicary conducted an experiment on subliminal visual cues during screenings of the film Picnic. Every five seconds, Vicary flashed words like “Drink Coca-Cola” and “Hungry? Eat Popcorn!” for 1/3000th of a second—which is below the threshold of conscious perception. Vicary claimed that displaying these subliminal suggestions increased Coca-Cola sales by 18.1% and caused a 57.8% jump in popcorn sales.

Although the results of his study were dubious, in January of 1974, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) banned subliminal advertising from radio and television broadcasting.

The official announcement by the FCC admitted that—even though they weren’t 100% convinced that subliminal techniques were effective—they stated, “whether effective or not, they were contrary to the public interest, and that any station employing subliminal messages risked losing its broadcast license.”

The two most recent studies on subliminal messaging show that subliminal visual cues do, in fact, have an effect on physical function, endurance, and inner strength.

Subliminal Visual Cues Can Renew a Youthful Sense of Self

The first recent study on the power of subliminal messaging was conducted at Yale University. The researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that older individuals who were subliminally exposed to positive visual cues and stereotypes about aging showed improved physical functioning that lasted for several weeks.

The October 2014 study, “Subliminal Strengthening: Improving Older Individuals, Physical Function Over Time With an Implicit-Age-Stereotype Intervention,” was published in the journal Psychological Science.

For this study, the researchers used a unique method to examine whether exposure to positive age stereotypes could weaken negative age stereotypes and lead to more vitality and healthier outcomes.

Some of the participants were subjected to positive age stereotypes on a computer screen that flashed words such as “spry” and “creative” at speeds that were too fast to be picked up consciously. This is the first time that researchers have looked at whether positive age stereotypes, presented subliminally across multiple sessions in the community, might lead to improved outcomes.

In a press release, lead researcher Becca Levy PhD, associate professor and director of the Social and Behavioral Science Division at Yale said, “The challenge we had in this study was to enable the participants to overcome the negative age stereotypes which they acquire from society, as in everyday conversations and television comedies. The study’s successful outcome suggests the potential of directing subliminal processes toward the enhancement of physical function.”

During the experiment, positive age stereotypes and positive self-perceptions of aging were strengthened, and negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of aging were weakened.

The researchers found that the subliminal intervention influenced physical function through a chain reaction of positive effects: First it strengthened the subjects’ positive age stereotypes, which then strengthened their positive self-perceptions, which then improved their physical function.

The improvement in these outcomes continued for three weeks after the last intervention session. Most importantly, negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of aging were weakened.

On a cautionary note, the negative age stereotypes and subliminal messages that each of us absorb non-consciously every day through advertising and other streams of media can lead to lower self-esteem. If left unchecked, this can create a snowball effect and downward spiral that saps your inner strength and self-confidence.

Subliminal Messages Can Reduce Perceptions of Effort and Increase Endurance

The second study was conducted by Professor Samuele Marcora at the University of Kent in collaboration with colleagues at Bangor University. In this experiment the researchers flashed subliminal cues, such as action-related words or happy vs. sad faces on a digital screen while endurance athletes were exercising on a stationary bicycle.

Their December 2014 study, “Non-Conscious Visual Cues Related to Affect and Action Alter Perception of Effort and Endurance Performance,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The subliminal words and faces appeared on a digital screen for less than 0.02 seconds and were masked by other visual stimuli making them unidentifiable to the participant’s conscious mind. When the athletes were presented with positive visual cues like “go” and “energy” or were shown happy faces they were able to exercise significantly longer compared to those who were shown sad faces or words linked to inaction.

Related: Keep Running – How the Brain Can Be Manipulated

This research is the first to demonstrate that subliminal visual cues can impact athletic performance. Additionally, the researchers found that the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) can be affected, for better or worse, by subliminal cues when you exercise.

Professor Marcora is currently exploring ways in which this research could open up new possibilities for athletes to improve their performance by using technology, such as ‘smart glasses’, to provide positive subliminal cues during training and competition.

Conclusion: Self-Perceptions Can Be Anything You Imagine Them to Be

I learned about the power of subliminal messaging through trial-and-error as an ultra-endurance athlete out in the field. I’ve written extensively about how-to use positive subliminal messaging to improve performance in The Athlete’s Way. It’s exciting to see scientists proving the benefits of non-conscious visual cues—on and off the court—for people from all walks of life through empirical research.

Related: Subliminal Messages – How They Work and How They Affect Us

This article was originally published on Psychology Today.

About the author

Christopher Bergland is a world-class endurance athlete, coach, author, and political activist. Follow him on Twitter for updates on The Athlete’s Way blog posts.

If you’d like to read more on this topic, check out his Psychology Today blog posts:

(Photo via Can Stock Photo)

Where does fatigue come from?

It doesn’t come from the body. Even when people exercise to exhaustion, studies have shown that there is fuel left in the tank – one found there was enough energy left in muscle tissue for participants to have kept going for another seven or eight minutes. The brain puts the brakes on, stepping in to stop us from over-exerting and injuring ourselves long before we reach our actual limits.

According to the latest research, our physical endurance is determined by our “perception of effort” – how much work the brain thinks that the body has done. But the brain can be tricked. In Brazil, a group of scientists improved power output in cyclists by 10% by running a small electric current through the brain. Elsewhere, it has been shown that giving athletes incorrect information about the temperature can help them maintain their performance in hot conditions, and that lying to them about their split times can help them break personal bests.

In one study, Professor Samuele Marcora and colleagues asked people to pedal an exercise bike at a fixed pace for as long as possible. Unbeknown to the participants, a screen in front of them was flashing up subliminal images for 1/16th of a second at a time. Cyclists flashed images of sad faces rode for 22 minutes and 22 seconds on average. Those shown happy faces reported less perceived exertion, and rode for three minutes longer. Marcora now wants to develop a pair of goggles that could flash up this kind of image at athletes while they are out training.

Forcing ourselves to keep going also means ignoring all the signals from our body telling us to stop. This “response inhibition” is very mentally taxing, and it causes a substance called adenosine to build up in the brain. Adenosine is associated with the feeling of mental fatigue – it builds up when people run marathons or work on boring spreadsheets, or if they haven’t had enough sleep. Adenosine increases perception of effort. It is the enemy of endurance.

Mo Farah drinks a couple of espressos before a race, to reduce mental fatigue.

Caffeine blocks adenosine. This is why Mo Farah drinks a couple of espressos before a race, and why caffeine pills and gum have become an essential part of the long-distance runner’s pre-race preparation. You can also train your brain, by doing monotonous response- inhibition tasks before or during exercise. In the short term, this will make your performance worse, but in the long run your brain will learn to produce less adenosine, which will reduce perception of effort and increase endurance.

In one study, Marcora asked two groups of soldiers to do a time-to-exhaustion test, where they were asked to ride at a fixed percentage of their maximum until they couldn’t any more. After 12 weeks of training the control group’s time-to-exhaustion had improved by 42%. The other group performed a mentally fatiguing task alongside their physical training sessions. Their time to exhaustion improved by 115%.

Auditory versions of these tasks for smartphones are in the works, but you can replicate the effect simply by changing your training patterns. For your brain, running five miles after a hard day’s work feels like the last five miles of a much longer run. It offers a much better workout for your willpower. It’s mind over matter, and fortunately for athletes – from the elite to the amateur – the mind is much easier to manipulate.

This article was originally posted at The Guardian.

Photo credits: occoquanbayperformance.com

About the author

Amit Katwala is the author of The Athletic Brain out on 11 August. To order a copy, go to bookshop.theguardian.com.

Russell Brand, famous comedian, actor, radio host, and activist, at the video below debunks all established standards of society as we know it. It makes references to our (limited) perception, that there are energies, vibrations, frequencies that are everywhere around us, which we can not perceive.

He also explains that we are spiritual beings, trapped temporarily in the physical plane, that we all should live spiritual lives, and that we can, even for a moment at least, get a small taste of this infinity, the unity of everything. Within us there is infinite ability to connect with the whole universe, but if we don’t have access to our spirituality, if you don’t cultivate this inner connection, we suffer as individuals, as a society.

Watch this wonderful video, which is an awesome collection of his inspired interviews.

 

photo: i.ytimg.com

“Kymatica” focuses on human and global consciousness and demonstrates how sick psyche of the human species creates this crazy illusion that brings all the pain and torment.

Deepens in the metaphysical aspects, by linking the ancient hidden myths with history, and modern life of society with the political regime. It also refers in shamanism, duality, the truth about the DNA and today’s misconceptions.

Ultimately, “Kymatica” is an amazing documentary that tries to emphasize the fundamental misconception that humanity faces today, which has resulted in imbalance between our planet, nature and species.

Here is a short list of mind-opening movies that will alter your perception of reality.

1. “Deja Vu” (2006)

An American action thriller film with elements of science fiction. An agent travels back in time in attempts to prevent a domestic terrorist attack that takes place in New Orleans and to save a woman with whom he falls in love.

 

2. “The Jacket” (2005)

This is a story of a person who is subjected to physical and mental torture in a psychiatric clinic. As a result of this suffering, he learned to travel with the help of his subconscious mind and look into the future. Very deep film of special mood and atmosphere. The actors are very believable, which forces the viewer to experience the feelings experienced by themselves.

 

3. “Inception” (2010)

A thief who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.

 

4. “The Thirteenth Floor” (1999)

The main characters of the movie (scientists) create a virtual reality model in which they are immersed one by one. Furthermore, this pattern applies not only to the genre of science fiction.. This is also a fantasy, thriller, romance, and, for the most part, a detective story. In general, this film is a clever and thought-provoking puzzle.

 

5. “The Fountain” (2006)

It is an incredible movie full of feelings and emotions, with an intricate, well thought out and beautiful story of love and eternal life.

 

6. “Dark City” (1998)

All this looks like a nightmare… The endless darkness of the streets that resemble mazes, constant pursuit and struggle… The city from which there is no escape. The film itself is very grim.

 

7. “The Matrix” (1999)

A cult movie the meaning of which is very easy to understand. The whole world is an illusion and only exists in our imagination. “The Matrix” is a kind of philosophical action movie with incredible special effects, which are admired to this day.

 

8. “The Adjustment Bureau” (2011)

An ambitious politician meets a beautiful contemporary ballet dancer, a woman like none he’s ever known. But just as he realizes he’s falling in love with her, mysterious men conspire to keep them apart. The politician learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself – the men of The Adjustment Bureau – who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent them from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path…or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.