Truth About Subliminal Programs
Choices and Illusions
The Mirror Information Processing (MIP) Hypothesis: The Taylor Method
|D (left)||ND (right)|
|Right side of body||Left side of body|
|Abstractions (math and language)||Concrete representations|
|Explicit/perception/awareness||Implicit information processor|
|Functional defense mechanisms||Defense strategies/conflict|
|Semantic structure||Phonetic characteristics|
(e.g. Near Death Experiences, Out-of-Body Experiences, etc.)
|Parapsychological Western thought|
(Springer and Deutsch, 1981)
the highest functions of the human condition develop only with the development of both hemispheres. He suggested that western society placed so much emphasis on the D hemisphere that its ability to grasp "wholes" had given way to fragmentation. We lost the forest for the leaves, and gave up the whole world in favor of reductionistic examination/evaluation of the parts. Ornstein originally identified this dichotomy as comparable to the differences between thinking styles of the east and the west (Ornstein, 1970).
Studies in the area of subliminal information processing have repeatedly demonstrated the process of obtaining information "out of" conscious awareness (Dixon, 1981; Taylor, 1988, 1990). Many of these studies have demonstrated that the ND hemisphere functionally processes such information (Cuperfain & Clark, 1985). Complementarily, McFarland, McFarland, Bain and Ashton (1978) revealed a right ear advantage for words of an abstract nature, but no such advantage for words of a more concrete nature.
A discovery reported by Ferguson (1991) demonstrated that auditory laterality played a role in childhood dyslexia. Ferguson reported from the work of Kjeld Johansen that "reading-disabled youngsters showed much weaker than normal bias toward the right ear, which is connected to the verbally dominant left hemisphere."
This information is not new. Still, Johansen uses it to confirm earlier work. He suggests that concentrated follow-up in this area of understanding is long overdue (Fergusson, 1991). Dyslexia was one of the first areas studied through dichotic (one or the other) listening procedures (Springer and Deutsch, 1981). Dyslexia was also a candidate for subliminal presentations that were lateralized through tachistoscopic-technology. Although this work remains controversial, it still led Springer and Deutsch to conclude that some peculiarity of hemispheric asymmetry did play a role in dyslexia (Springer and Deutsch, 1981).
Springer and Deutsch also reviewed the data regarding anatomical asymmetries in dyslexics. They found a positive correlation between handedness, hemispheric asymmetries and dyslexias. They cautioned against over-generalization and suggested, "the reversal (of brain-asymmetry) interacts with other factors to produce dyslexia" (Springer and Deutsch, 1981).
Samuel T. Orton suggested a model of reading disability (dyslexia) as a "failure of dominance" by the D hemisphere (Springer and Deutsch, 1981). Orton assumed that weak cerebral dominance caused dyslexia. His original model did not hold up under scientific scrutiny in its generalization about the cause of all dyslexias. It nevertheless offers a functional mechanical model that has not yet proven wrong. Some of Orton's assumptions may have strayed. The viability of the model itself remains This important distinction becomes even more important in the context of the MIP paradigm.
Orton studied hemispheric asymmetry largely in the areas of dyslexia and stuttering. He thought that hemispheric competition for control of speech caused this dysfunction. His model of information processing and hemispheric asymmetry assumed that we represent visual information in "opposite orientations in the two hemispheres" (Springer and Deutsch, 1981). Orton proposed the upside-down to right-side- up visual correction as mechanically a mirroring process (see Fig. 9).
Consequently, a more accurate pictorial representation of the MIP holographic model is shown in Fig. 10.
Orton coined the term "strepbosymbolia" to describe the condition proposed when the mirroring process seemed incomplete or absent due to a "sufficiently developed cerebral dominance . . . one normally oriented and one reversed" (Springer and Deutsch, 1981).
Springer and Deutsch reviewed Orton's work and concluded that he "may be right, but for the wrong
reasons" (Springer and Deutsch, 1981). I suggest that Orton's model functionally represents the mechanical process and also best describes the "righting" of the world seen upside down and the intake/output of reversed speech. Orton's model may only appear to have failed. Perturbations of frequency modulations across hemispheres may indeed result in observable increases in D hemisphere activity because of neurological factors analogous to those implied by the "rock outcropping" from the pond-and-stone metaphor.
In addition to the literature reviewed regarding dyslexia and stuttering, many regard autism as, at least in part, due to an asymmetrical hemispheric dysfunction (Springer and Deutsch, 1981). Apparently no one has proposed how this would receive perceptual representation in the mind of the autistic child.
A number of studies have shown that emotionality in semantic delivery can have an influence over both the recognition level and the physiological response relative to the presentation of linguistic subliminal stimuli (Taylor, 1988). This produced hemispherically asymmetric responses. My work, reported in 1988, all used reverse speech presentations.
Neurophysiologist David Corina and his team conducted several studies of hemisphere function at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Based on them, he asserts, the left hemisphere "handles specific characteristics of language, rather than muscle movements or symbolic abilities involved in language" (Corina, 1992). PET scans taken by Squire and Raichle suggest that we have different kinds of memory, and that separate neural regions manage them. "When subjects drew upon memories of a list to complete the fragment "mot-" as "motor" the right sides of their hippocampi flooded with blood...If the subjects were not searching their brains for a word they had already seen and instead gave the first word that came to them, blood flow did not increase significantly to either side of their hippocampi" (Squire and Raichle, 1991). According to Richard Haier the right side of the hippocampus plays a key role in memory and learning (Haier, 1992).
Many researchers agree that the right hemisphere controls speech formation and delivery, while the left side determines the structure of speech. Both hemispheres nevertheless intricately participate in speech memory and learning in different primary ways.
As mentioned earlier, Kjeld Johansen has demonstrated that auditory laterality is a key factor in childhood dyslexia. The MIP model predicts this. Johansen found "that reading-disabled youngsters showed much weaker than normal bias toward the right ear, which is connected to the verbally dominant hemisphere...." (Ferguson, 1991) Due to the way the auditory system is "wired," hearing parts of words with the left ear but other parts with the right (as opposed to right-ear dominance) can lead to sounds being mixed and confused. Certain letters - b and p, t and d - often become garbled (Springer and Deutsch, 1981). It may be that the information garbling is more a matter of information mirroring than simply of sounds being mixed and confused.
Three theoretical considerations traditionally apply to information processing in the context of hemispheric asymmetry and mental dysfunctions. Springer and Deutsch outline these:
1. The lateralized-deficit model holds that deficits in one hemisphere are associated with particular forms of mental illness. These deficits are believed to be quite subtle, requiring highly sensitive measures of lateralization to detect them.
2. The cognitive-style model views certain forms of mental illness as characterized by atypical modes of information processing that result from non-optimal utilization of hemispherically linked functions. There are no hemispheric deficits per se; rather, the illness is the result of inappropriate patterns of hemispheric involvement.
3. The interaction model ties psychology to a problem between the hemispheres, rather than a deficit in either hemisphere alone or the pattern of their involvement. Here, the difficulty is seen to lie in the faulty exchange of information between halves of the brain (Springer and Deutsch, 1981).
The MIP model emphasizes alternative three as a functional characteristic relative to the operation of information transfer between hemispheres according to the mirroring process where dyslexia or, at least, certain forms of dyslexia are concerned. This hypothesis was supported when the simultaneous delivery of forward and reverse speech was applied, hemispherically differentiated, to a young man diagnosed as dyslexic. Within 30 days his dyslexia symptoms had disappeared (Taylor, 1990).
What may we surmise? Many implicit percepts seem to come from perceptions out of awareness. Hemispheric asymmetry seems inherent to the preconscious processing paradigm. Hemispheric competition may cause failure to perceive or behave either "correctly" or at all.
Budzynski schematized asymmetric lateralization in conflicts between the two hemispheres (Budzynski, 1986). This would exacerbate recognition difficulties in much the same manner that perceptual defenses operate. That, in turn, could lead to situations in which the two hemispheres conflict. That could produce "inter-manual and intrapsychic" difficulties (Joseph, 1988).
One split-brain study reviewed by Springer and Deutsch applies to this perspective. Gazzaniga and LeDoux conducted experiments in which they presented visual stimuli in separate visual fields to a split-brain subject. They asked the subject to use his fingers to point to pictures that related to the subject matter he had seen flashed on the screen (see Fig. 11, reproduced here courtesy of Springer and Deutsch, 1981). Gazzaniga and Ledoux reported that the subject "did this quite well." His right hand pointed to a picture related to one that had been flashed in his right visual field (to the left hemisphere), and his left hand pointed to a picture related to one that had been flashed in his left visual field (to the right hemisphere). Consider how the subject interpreted these double responses:
"When a snow scene was presented to the right hemisphere and a chicken claw was presented to the left, he quickly and dutifully responded correctly by choosing a picture of a chicken from a series of four cards with his right hand and a picture of a shovel from a series of four cards with his left hand. The subject was then asked, "What did you see?" "I saw a claw and I picked the chicken, and you have to clean out the chicken shed with a shovel."
In trial after trial, we saw this kind of response. The left hemisphere could easily and accurately identify why it had picked the answer, and then subsequently, and without batting an eye, it would incorporate the right hemisphere's response into the framework. While we knew exactly why the right hemisphere had made its choice, the left hemisphere could merely guess. Yet, the left did not offer its suggestion in a guessing vein but rather a statement of fact as to why that card had been picked." (Springer and Deutsch, 1981).
The ND (right) hemisphere represents logical language in an infantile or primitive fashion (Eccles, 1974), affect oriented and spatially non-linear (Galin, 1974) It appears to play a significant role in the early processing of new information (Wittrock, 1985). It must play an even more important role in the generation of new information. Creativity stems from recombination. This receives interpretation by and stability from the D (left) hemisphere.
The model proposed will accommodate the MIP paradigm. The brain evolved. It grew larger. The hemispheres developed and specialized.
The ND (right) hemisphere evolved a function that listened to language and saw the world in much the same manner: topsy turvy, tipsy tottery, back to front, last to first. This raises an interesting question. You may have read that when an individual wears glasses which turn the view upside down, the brain learns the difference and adjusts its interpretation so that the individual again sees "right-side up." What would happen with speech presented in reverse? What if this mirroring process was the mechanic of Chompsky's echolalia to holophrastic speech schema? Do we have a mechanical apparatus in the brain designed specifically to mirror language? (Petitto and Marentette, 1991).
The development of language requires stable and consistent utterances. Some part of the brain had to maintain stable representations. One sees oneself in a mirror. One does not pay particular heed to the right and left. Regardless, we know the mirror reverses them. We have a fixed representation of our body. Apparently the D hemisphere has this responsibility. D hemisphere developes lexical ability.
The studies by David Oates almost require this theory. However, Oates's work has drawn serious criticism. Oates insists that all speech contains meaningful reversals. Apparently the subconscious can communicate in this way. Meticulously, over a six-year period, he assembled recordings and reversed them for backward speech analysis. Repeatedly he observed meaningful reversals. Usually they compliment or contradict the content of the forward speech. A statement such as "I left work and went to the grocery store" might contain a complimentary message such as "loaf of bread." Such reversals add information relevant to the forward message. A contradictory message might say, "Hate it" in a forward message stating, "It's really okay." (Oates, 1991).
I have also come across this phenomenon. In 1984, I examined recordings from a lie detection test. That involved manually reversing audiotape across the play heads of a reel to reel recorder in an attempt to isolate a specific response. As I dragged the tape in reverse, I heard the word "liar." This word was spoken clearly. Later, others easily demonstrated it to themselves. In forward response, the examinee said simply, "Yes." In reverse, this "yes" contained "liar." The charts also clearly demonstrated distress indicative of deception. The examinee later verified deception by confessing. If Oates was correct, this incident was not a fluke.
Oates also reported that, in addition to the forensic applications of the reversal phenomena, therapists had been successful at finding underpinning traumas from recordings of patients. One example offered was a woman who went to her therapist for reasons substantially different in their etiology than the sexual abuse discovered in her speech reversals (Oates, 1991).
Of greatest significance for this paper, Oates played tapes backwards at about a 20% speed reduction, the sounds made by a child during the stage between gurgling and meaningful speech, contained reversals such as "Daddy play?" "Mamma home?" and so forth (Oates, 1991).
Apparently, in first learning to speak, we generate reversed speech. We create this reversal, most of us, in the right hemisphere. As mentioned earlier, clinical data assembled by myself, supported this hypothesis (Taylor, 1991).
I spent years doing voice stress analysis, specifically looking at the presence of a muscle micro tremor that exists at about 8 cycles per second. It persists so long as the autonomic nervous system functions relatively stress free. When distress occurs, this micro-tremor disappears. Many times the "give-away voice crack" happens at times of distress. The left hemisphere attends to the rules of sentence structure, tense, word choice, logic... Does the right hemisphere form the affect structure of speech?
Just as speech suggests an interplay of hemispheres, graphologic reversals require some such explanation (Kappas, 1985). Hypnotic and parapsychological literature has often reported backwards writing. Holding this writing to a mirror provides clear interpretation. Left hemisphere activity declines during trance. This seems another example of brain reversal. Is the critical mind (left hemisphere) in abeyance? During religious worship of a cathartic type, many have spoken in "tongues." How much of this actually connects with speech reversals, as suggested by Oates? (1991).
The implications to speech reversals occurring without knowledge (at least consciously) are as staggering as the list of corresponding observations are long. Prior to hearing of Oates' findings, I viewed reverse speech information from an intake only perspective. Did the brain make intelligibly meaningful translations of reverse speech? Some articles argued "absolutely not!" (Moore, 1990). The studies tested conscious evaluations of the reverse information. They could have tested presentation of reverse speech via an instrument, such as thematic apperception testing designed to detect unconscious "tumbling" and response (right hemisphere). Instead they chose to evaluate consciously recognized meaning (left hemisphere) immediately following the reverse speech presentation. Given the MIP model, this type of design had little if any value and the conclusions derived from it invalid.
The MIP Model: A Simple Test
The MIP hypothesis suggests that hemispheric tasking would result in interferences of images and information, as discovered by Stroop between 1932 and 1938 (Science News, vol. 141, 1992). The Stroop effect demonstrates organizational functions of the brain that have largely gone unexplained. Current theory divides between the approach which asserts that people read words quicker then they identify color, and the alternative theory which states that certain mental tasks happen involuntarily, while others require considerably more voluntary effort and control. The Stroop effect occurs with simultaneous exposure to lists of words or other stimuli organized so as to require variations in response when presented one at a time. For example, look at Fig 4 in the colored templates. Name the colors of each of the words on the list as rapidly as possible.
We can present words fused with images which oppose the meanings of the words. This slows down the identification process. It is as though thinking itself has been slowed. Colors provide the most dramatic instance of this well known and intriguing phenomena.
Review the same list. This time read the words rather than naming the color. The task becomes easier. If not, I will guess that you did not learn to read English until late in your life, or that you have some dyslexic tendency.
Cover your left eye and read. The typical left-hemispheric dominant person covers the left eye and reads the list with no meaningful change in the speed of reading. The same person may then cover the right eye and attempt to read the words. This usually severely impedes the process. I have observed the inability to report the words without the colors. Even when carefully instructed to do so, some participants cannot say the word red without saying the color first (blue, as shown in the preceding list). One subject who experienced this effect said that, in spite of practice, she found it "almost impossible not to say the color first even though I know that what I'm saying is an error."
In my opinion, the very process of mirroring produces this organizational confusion. The right hemisphere typically dominant orientation to color, space, shape and so forth from birth (Wonder and Donovan, 1984) competes with left hemisphere linguistic tasking. By contrast, the left hemisphere has logical syntactic language, again as a primary task for the typical right-handed person. When opposing hemispheric tasks are presented simultaneously, the mirroring process of information from hemisphere to hemisphere produces sufficient disorganization as to "slow" the thinking process. The opposing image difficulty is either exacerbated or ameliorated depending upon the identification requirement (language or color in our example) and the dominant hemisphere processing that information.
The procedural difference viewing the Stroop effect with only one eye rather than two usually provesless significant with the right eye than with the left, according to the findings of this author. One explanation for that difference could well be the dominance of the right eye, for most people in our society. The eyes, unlike the ears or hands or nostrils and so forth, each cross-wire to both hemispheres. For the sake of efficiency, the brain may learn more practiced compensation skills for the dominant eye than for the non-dominant. Ornstein has pointed out that, in the maturation process, the fibers from the two eyes compete and usually the right eye win. In his words, "throughout infancy, the fibers from the two eyes construct from complete overlaps to complete separation in the adult" (Orstein, 1984).
I reasoned, if forward and reverse speech are presented simultaneously, they will in effect compete as do color and word. Each hemisphere will, so to speak, be busy processing what it recognizes. This competition will impede recognition by slowing down the recognition process. Consequently, the liminus level of subliminal information (threshold) would alter and speech would go unrecognized at sound levels where it would otherwise be detected.
How The "Taylor Method" Works
Now we have at least a theoretical understanding of my approach. Let us review the essentials. What happens in an average human brain?
The brain receives sensory stimuli. The D hemisphere generates a stable representation. The ND hemisphere generates counter-representations. These may match with previously established representations (beliefs). By resonance, in the holograph metaphor, a counter-representation could 'trigger' matching representations in the whole brain. The combination of counter-representation and established representation could overwhelm the current D representation.
Affirmations allow a simple example of how this works in our minds. When I say "I forgive..." I already remember people who I haven't forgiven yet. Affirmations seem to work well to establish beliefs that we haven't disbelieved yet. Alternately, an affirmation also helps to reveal beliefs that block us. Once revealed, we can use effective means of working on those.
In the case of reverse speech, the D hemisphere attaches no meaning to it. The ND hemisphere, as always, generates counter-representations. One of the simplest of these, reversal in time, does have meaning. This counter-representation does not have sufficient signal strength to enter consciousness, or to stimulate counter-counter-representation. Hence, repetition can establish a representation (belief) without disturbing consciousness or generating contradictory representations.
The "Taylor Method" applies simultaneous information of both forward and reverse speech. It delivers on the left channel (to the right hemisphere) an authoritarian statement such as "I am good," while delivering on the right channel a permissive corollary statement such as "It's okay to be good." I recommend this simultaneous delivery for at least two reasons, 1. Both halves of the brain are addressed in the manner most appropriate, ie. permissive or authoritarian, the left brain being the center for logic and reason while the right brain is the creative/artistic center. (Wonder and Donovan, 1985). 2. Just as thinking is slowed down when both halves of the brain are being tasked, as seen in the Stroop effect, so the subject is less likely to note hearing speech, even though the messages are easily detectable on home stereo equipment.
The tape delivers these messages within the band width of the music and nature soundtrack, slightly beneath the peak volume of the outer edge. On a good stereo you can reveal the subliminals. Simply pan the speaker balance on to full right, eliminate the equalizer bands on everything but 500k and 1k, and increase to maximum those two frequency ranges. You can easily detect the voices speaking the messages.
I opt for a definition of subliminal that has pragmatic value. The value of subliminal information is, and always was, to deliver information without conscious interference. Many have eloquently argued for the advantages. This author would refer the reader to Norman Dixon (1991) for more regarding the strategies and rewards inherent in subliminally presented information.
Mirrored Information Processing (MIP) is a model for information processing in the human brain. It may prove valid. It may already have contributed to understanding more fully how we process, learn, remember, and create information. Its predictions regarding how we respond to language have passed extensive testing. Possibly, some alternative model will better explain these results. Regardless, the simultaneous delivery of reverse speech and forward speech for the presentation of subliminal information has proven itself effective for many goals in therapy and personal development.
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