Professor of psychology, and chair of the Glendon psychology department Tim Moore was one of the experts quoted extensively in the Focus Section (p.3) of the Saturday, March 24th issue of the Globe and Mail. The article by Paul Benedetti, under the title “Don’t Bet on It” discussed the topic of ‘subliminal seduction’ in gambling, recently in the public view when it was discovered that certain Japanese-made video slot machines were flashing symbols that indicate a jackpot for a fraction of a second on every spin. When consulted on this issue, several experts including Moore expressed their conviction that these split-second images would have no significant effect on gamblers to keep playing.
As outlined in Benedetti’s report, Moore and other experts, such as Professor Phil Merikle of the University of Waterloo, agree that the casino environment itself - the bells, whistles, jackpot sirens and clanking coins creating a hype of money and winning – is quite enough to keep gamblers going. Moore has participated in a number of controlled studies on the usefulness of ‘subliminal’ self-help tapes, resulting in the conclusion that they provide no benefits. The gambling images fall into the same category. Konami Gaming, the Japanese company which manufactures the slot machines in question, has announced that there was no intention on their part to send subliminal messages and they have already provided patches to eliminate the glitch that has occurred.
Moore agreed with the other experts that the ‘power of subliminal messages’ myth endures because it feeds into our fear of mind control, while also promising effortless benefits. “It’s titillating. It’s a good story. Conspiracy theories abound”, said Moore. “I think they will always be with us.”
Submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny
The Glendon Psychology program will be offering a summer course entitled Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 2510).