Paper at Mobile HCI 2017

Exploring the Feasibility of Subliminal Priming on Smartphones

Subliminal priming has the potential to influence people's attitudes and behaviour, making them prefer certain choices over others. Yet little research has explored its feasibility on smartphones, even though the global popularity and increasing use of smartphones has spurred interest in mobile behaviour change interventions. This paper addresses technical, ethical and design issues in delivering mobile subliminal priming.

We present three explorations of the technique: a technical feasibility study, and two participant studies. A pilot study (n=34) explored subliminal goal priming in-the-wild over 1 week, while a semi-controlled study (n=101) explored the immediate effect of subliminal priming on 3 different types of stimuli.

We found that although subliminal priming is technically possible on smartphones, there is limited evidence of impact on changes in how much stimuli are preferred by users, with inconsistent effects across stimuli types. We discuss the implications of our results and directions for future research.


I'll be presenting this paper on Wednesday at 09:30 in Session 5 "The eyes have it".


Charlie Pinder, Jo Vermeulen, Benjamin R. Cowan, Russell Beale, and Robert J. Hendley. 2017. Exploring the Feasibility of Subliminal Priming on Smartphones. In MobileHCI’17. PDF