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readable - but nothing new here
on 8 September 2012
Psychologists have been studying the unconscious and the effects of the subliminal for well over a century. Look at Freud: he used the interpretation of the subliminal and the unconscious to understand his patients or (to look at it another way) he used his interpretation of their unconscious to attribute and project his own issues onto his patients - and, boy, Freud had some issues!
As with a lot of psychology there are believers, cynics and nay-sayers. The more recent submissions on the art of the subliminal tend towards the "it doesn't have an effect" end of the scale and maybe subliminal advertising doesn't have an effect on its own, but it cannot be denied that our perception of the subliminal certainly has an effect on how we perceive things.
Our author is a proponent of the "new" neuroscience ... once again with the "new".
Don't get me wrong after more than half my life time working in the field of psychology and I like to read other peoples ideas - I've found that it stops my own thinking becoming stale - so I have read a lot of texts, reports, publications and the like and I have come across most, if not all, of the ideas in this book. However, throughout my career, when ever a "theory" comes to the fore it also comes under investigation and debate. Yet debate and disagreement of any aspect of this author's work is met with attack rather than thought out argument.
Of course the one thing that all these tests (or should that be "testers") forget in their desire to pin our actions down to certain impulses in specific areas of the brain is the "human" factor. People are more than a simple grouping of impulses, and this is where the book really fails.
I did laugh when I saw the subtitles of some of the chapters. We may be learning more about the author than he had thought. Chapter 9: "The nature of emotions ... why the prospect of falling hundreds of feet onto large boulders has the same effect as a flirtatious smile and a black silk nightgown".
Chapter 10 "How our ego defends its honor [sic] ... why schedules are overly optimistic and failed CEOs feel they deserve golden parachutes" - personally I'm getting sick of "banker bashing". It seems that every time a commentator wants to justify their point of view they bash a banker or two. They know it is an impossible situation as to argue against them means to stick-up for a banker and so they use them as a sort of human shield.
On the good side the book, though it can be dry at times, is quite readable, but there is nothing new here; it is simply the regurgitation of old studies and the perceived results. As with most (if not all) text books it is the authors personal view of the subject and does not represent the standard (at present). There is more work to be done before it will be an accepted standard.