Tales from my bed, Part Deux

Maybe one day, if I write something while slightly inebriated, that title will live up to its connotations. But not today, friends.

When my head hits the pillow, it takes a fairly long time for me to get to sleep – at least 30 minutes, sometimes an hour depending on the day I had, or the days ahead. My mind just races – thinking about what I didn't get done, what I have lined up the next day, or that damn sudoku puzzle on my phone that I approached with such sudoku-bravado because the “Evil” level on websudoku is child’s play for me, so why wouldn't this be the same but ohhhh when my phone says “Diabolical” it really means it and I still haven’t solved it despite multiple atte - what was I saying? Um, so you can see how my mind wanders and it’s hard to reel it in sometimes. Stupid puzzle thinks it’s so smart. ANYWAY.

The other day I was searching on iTunes for sleep aid music, and in a twist that everyone saw coming, I got really tired after listening to 20some preview clips. I guess that’s a good sign that they work? But I happened to come across some subliminal mind music…here is my question to you: Do you think it really works? I think it’s proven that our brains have functions that are stimulated outside the realm of our immediate consciousnesses (it’s an S party up in that word that might not be a real word), but I find it hard to believe that these tracks follow the same principles laid out in a Saved by the Bell episode. These particular tracks - the iTunes ones, not the SBTB one - were designed for Weight Loss, Positive Thinking, Finding Love, Stress Free Forever (please don’t patronize me, iTunes), and a few others. There are no words, being that the tracks are about subliminal messaging, so part of me wants to call bullshit on this one. What if your thinking is changed by the act of buying the tapes and listening to them a few times, thinking you’re getting these messages? It’s like an iTunes placebo. The subliminal messages aren't actually there, but because you think they are, it kind of works anyway. But it doesn't take away from the fact that the tracks are BS.

The other part of me likes all that brain junk and wants to believe in it…that same part of me bought two of them. (no, not the Finding Love one…it hasn't come to that yet) DAMN IT. Also, since the only way placebos work is if you aren't aware of them, I might be out of luck. Well, even if I’m right, the music is still relaxing. And if I’m lucky, Zack Morris and I will be heading to that dance.


Meghan said...

Subliminal stimuli! The dork in me is about to come out because I do this research AND teach it to my students!!

Subliminal messaging: There is no research, to date, that suggests this works. In one study, participants were told they were receiving a weight loss or positive thinking message (for example - I don't remember the specifics) in some music. The participants may have received what they were told or the other one. Later, the researchers test to see if changes had occurred in line with the message they were TOLD they were subliminally hearing, and guess what? It didn't actually matter WHAT they were listening to, only what they BELIEVED they were listening to. [Placebo effect... spot on, Laura]

Subliminal priming: Now this is what I actually do. It involves displaying something very briefly (e.g., 37ms) on the computer screen to see if it influence judgments/perceptions/feelings/thoughts related to a subsequently presented, nonsubliminal stimulus. And guess what, it does! But there are definitely limits... all priming parameters must be VERY specific (i.e., you're not going to experience this watching your TV) and the effects are VERY short in duration. The duration of effectiveness varies based on many things, but I'd safely say it would be rare to see an effect from a subliminal prime after 2 or so minutes.

Now that my comment is as long as you're post I'm going to go, but I got so excited when I read about this subliminal stuff!! [Me = Dork]

KK said...

Meghan is the coolest dork I know. Also, whatever works. I clearly remember Andrew Regen in high school saying (with all seriousness) that he didn't have time to study for an AP Bio test, so he slept with he head in the open book hoping for osmosis of the information into his brain. Yeah...