Subliminal Semantic Number Processing on Smartphones

Charlie Pinder, Jo Vermeulen, Benjamin R. Cowan.

Presented by: Charlie Pinder

In Proceedings of MobileHCI 2017: the 19th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Barcelona Spain, September 36, 2018, pp. 24:1--24:13.
[24.5% acceptance; 213 submissions]


One potential method of improving the efficiency of human-computer interaction is to display information subliminally. Such information cannot be recalled consciously, but has some impact on the perceiver. However, it is not yet clear whether people can extract meaning from subliminal presentation of information in mobile contexts. We therefore explored subliminal semantic priming on smartphones. This builds on mixed evidence for subliminal priming across HCI in general, and mixed evidence for the effect of subliminal affective priming on smartphones. Our semi-controlled experiment (n=103) investigated subliminal processing of numerical information on smartphones. We found evidence that concealed transfer of information is possible to a very limited extent, but little evidence of a semantic effect. Overall, the impact is effectively negligible for practical applications. We discuss the implications of our results for real-world deployments and outline future research themes as HCI moves beyond mobile.