UCL News


Press cutting: Subliminal promises

17 April 2007

It is common knowledge that an athlete will train harder for a high-stakes competition.

Now scientists have found that even subliminal promises can drive us on. Professor Chris Frith [UCL Institute of Neurology], author of 'Making up the Mind', and colleagues at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, showed volunteers subliminal images of either a penny or a £1 coin and then asked them to squeeze a hand grip. They told the volunteers that the harder they gripped, the more money they would earn. Overall, volunteers squeezed harder after seeing the £1 coin than after seeing the penny, even when they weren't aware that they had seen either. These experiments took place in an MRI scanner, revealing that a brain region called the ventral pallidum was involved. …

Roger Highfield, 'The Daily Telegraph'