THE EFFECT OF GENDER, HEMISPHERIC PREFERENCE, SEMANTICITY AND LATERALIZATION UPON SENSITIVITY TO AUDITORY SUBLIMINAL STIMULI IN CHILDREN

BEVERLY K HABECK, Marquette University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent, if at all, the variables of gender, hemispheric preference, semanticity, message lateralization and/or their interactions influenced children's susceptibility to auditory subliminal stimuli as measured by subjects' rating their internal and external affective environments. The present study was designed to provide additional insight into the nature of information processing at the preconscious level. The study is unique to the accumulated body of subliminal research in its focus upon children and its simultaneous manipulation of the independent variables utilized. Ninety-six children, from ages 8 to 12 participated in the experiment. Subjects were screened for dextrality and unilateral hemispheric preference. Subjects were assessed individually to determine a functional auditory threshold. Stimuli were presented at 5 dB below that threshold through headphones. Verbal and nonverbal stimuli of positive affect were 15 seconds in length and embedded in a tape recorded message. Following subliminal stimulation, subjects were asked to look at a projected slide of a blurred neutral face. Subjects rated the face on 5 adjective continua and then rated their personal affect, using the same 5 scales. Data gathered were subjected to a 2 x 2 x 2 x 4 x 2 x 5 analysis of variance with repeated measures on the last two factors using a fixed effects model. Post hoc comparisons were conducted to determine differences between and among means using Duncan's New Multiple Range Test. The .05 level of significance was adopted. Results showed subjects with left hemisphere preference to be significantly more sensitive to subliminal stimuli than subjects preferring right hemisphere cognition. Data also indicated that subjects processing messages unilaterally were significantly more susceptible to subliminal messages than subjects in the control group or subjects processing the messages bilaterally. Further, subjects' personal affect was influenced at a significantly greater level than subjects' impressions of the neutral face. Finally, significant differences emerged among the rating scales employed, with some scales more sensitive to the subliminal effect than others. Results of the study are discussed in light of research on hemispheric asymmetry and rhetorical theory's impact upon preconscious processing.

Recommended Citation

BEVERLY K HABECK, "THE EFFECT OF GENDER, HEMISPHERIC PREFERENCE, SEMANTICITY AND LATERALIZATION UPON SENSITIVITY TO AUDITORY SUBLIMINAL STIMULI IN CHILDREN" (January 1, 1983). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI8410839.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI8410839

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