Monday, July 25, 2022

Subliminal Self-Help Videos on TickTock

 Subliminal Self-Help 

Subliminal self-help tapes play hidden messages to listeners through the forms of subliminal music channels, sleep hypnosis meditations, and ‘mind training’ sessions with the intention of triggering certain thoughts and actions that will help an individual reach their desired goal faster (Beabout, 2021). Subliminal self-help tapes rose to popularity in America around 1987; creating an industry that earned 50 million in just one year on tapes claiming everything from boosting one’s self esteem to speeding up one’s weight loss (Recer, 1991). Since the industry’s rise in 1987, many research studies have analyzed the authenticity of subliminal tapes; finding no real proof that subliminal self-help tapes influence one’s behavior. In 1992, a committee for the National Research Council, found no real proof of subliminal self-help tapes helping a person reach their goal (Recer, 1991). Additionally, other research studies have found no evidence of a placebo effect in regular use of subliminal audiotapes. Instead, the results suggest that regular use of subliminal audiotapes geared toward one specific goal simply causes the individual to be more aware of their desired goal (Merikle & Skanes, 1992). 

    Despite decades of research concluding that subliminal self-help tapes have no proven influence on behavior, the subliminal tape industry is still making profit today. While subliminal self-help videos have previously flourished on YouTube, subliminal self-help audios are now becoming a trend on another social media platform, TickTock (Fenwick, 2022). In these videos, ‘hidden affirmations’ of desired lifestyles and appearance traits are listed with imagery matching the goal. Subliminal self-help videos on TickTock include more claims of manifestation properties than previous trend cycles of subliminal videos. Many of the accounts posting such videos claim to see amazing results from the subliminal videos (Fenwick, 2022). 

    Most of the subliminal TickTock videos I have seen focus on obtaining beauty standards. In my opinion, these videos illustrate the control that beauty standards have on one’s mentality. It’s sad to see so many (probably young) users so desperate to change themselves to be prettier. 


Beabout, L. (2021). Mind over matter: Do subliminal messages work for weight loss? Greatist. 

Fenwick, J. (2022). The blind faith of subliminal TickTock videos. Vice.

Merikle, P. & Skanes, H. (1992). Subliminal self-help audiotapes: A search for placebo effects. J Appl Psychol, 77(5). Doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.77.5.772  

Recer, M. (1991). Study says subliminal self-help tapes of no scientifically proven value. AP News. 

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