subliminal vs subconscious

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Deborah White, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Deborah White Senior Member

    Korean Korea

    I wonder what is the difference between the two.

    In the dictionary I use, they roughly mean the same--at a level of your mind that you are not conscious of.

    But if they are so close in meaning, while doesn't the dictionary use one word for the explanation of another?

    By the way, not many phrases or expressions are given under the two. I only see these:

    subconscious self, subconscious urges

    subliminal message, subliminal advertising.

    Can you provide more information or a new angle ?
  2. Pablo Ingles Senior Member

    London, England
    England, English

    subliminal advertising was a method of advertising that inserted a single frame image of a product in a film that the eye could not see but the mind could register. It was banned many years ago. A subliminal message is something that is playing on the subconscious mind that may not be apparent or obvious.
  3. Deborah White Senior Member

    Korean Korea
    I am not asking you to explain the meanings of the prase. Of course, one can understand the meaning in context.

    But just what's the difference between 'subliminal' and 'subconscious'?
    Why they are so close in meaning, yet the dictionary never uses one to refer to the other?
  4. rippledj Member

    English - American/Canadian
    They have completely different contexts. Subliminal refers to an aspect of something which does not have a conscience. It cannot apply to people directly. Subconscious can apply to things that have conscious. It refers to a lower level of consciousness. It cannot apply to things that do not have a conscience.

    In your examples, urges and self are things that are a part of a person. Message and advertising are not part of a person, but a creation of a person.

    Hope that helps.

    Subliminal things may be designed to appeal to people's subconsciousness.
  5. Deborah White Senior Member

    Korean Korea
    But in dictionary defintions, there are almost no difference between the two. 'at the level of your mind that you are not consciou of'.

    If 'subliminal message' is sth that 'cannot apply to people', then does that mean we don't need to think about the undersea message? only taking the surface meaning is enough?

    I don't think the meaning of 'subliminal' is very clearly explained by both the dictionary and you up to now.

    You mainly explained their meanings according to the examples (phrases) I collected from the dictioary. But you don't probe the definition itself coming from the dictionary.
  6. rippledj Member

    English - American/Canadian
    subliminal is used for something "aimed at the level of your mind that you are not conscious of, which is called your subconscious. The things that happen in your subconscious like thoughts, fears, etc. can be described with the word subconscious.
  7. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    They are entirely different. A resource like Wikipedia might be helpful.

    Subliminal is an adjective and it refers to a communication that is not intended to be understood consciously, but to influence thoughts, feelings, and/or behavior at the subconscious level.

    Subconscious can be a noun or an adjective and it refers to processes that take place in the human psyche of which we are not totally aware.
  8. FromPA

    FromPA Senior Member

    Philadelphia area
    USA English
    The subliminal originates outside the mind and affects the mind at a subconscious level. The subconscious is a part of the mind (the part to which the subliminal is directed).

Share This Page