Can ambient persuasive technology persuade unconsciously? : using subliminal feedback to influence energy consumption ratings of household appliances

Conference Contribution

Ham, J.R.C., Midden, C.J.H. & Beute, F. (2009). Can ambient persuasive technology persuade unconsciously? : using subliminal feedback to influence energy consumption ratings of household appliances. In S. Chatterjee & P. Dev (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology 2009, Claremont, California, April 26-29, 2009 (pp. article no : 29-1/6). New York: ACM. In Scopus Cited 10 times.

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Abstract

 

In this paper we explore a fundamental characteristic of Ambient Persuasive Technology: Can it persuade the user without receiving the user's conscious attention? In a task consisting of 90 trials, participants had to indicate which of three household appliances uses the lowest average amount of energy. After each choice, participants in the supraliminal feedback condition received feedback about the correctness of their choice through presentation of a smiling or a sad face for 150 ms. Participants in the subliminal feedback condition received identical feedback, but the faces were presented only for 25 ms, which prohibited conscious perception of these stimuli. The final third of the participants received no feedback. In the next task, participants rated the energy consumption of all presented appliances. Results indicated that supraliminal feedback and subliminal feedback both led to more correct energy consumption ratings as compared to receiving no feedback. Implications are discussed.