Post-movie subliminal measurement (PMSM), for investigating implicit social bias

Mamdooh Afdile*, Iiro P. Jääskeläinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


New knowledge is continuously gained from a social environment that can influence how people respond to each other. Such responses often occur implicitly, at a subliminal perceptual level, and related brain mechanisms can be experimentally isolated by presenting the stimuli quickly. Subliminal presentation of faces that belong to different ethnicity groups, races, or gender has been shown to be successful in investigating social implicit responses. However, many implicit responses are based on knowledge previously gained about the faces (e.g., sexual orientation, political views, and socioeconomic status) and not solely on physical appearance. Here, a novel method called post-movie subliminal measurement (PMSM) is presented. When watching a socially engaging movie, a spectator gains knowledge about the protagonist and becomes familiar with his/her identity and world views. When the face of the protagonist is presented subliminally after the movie, it evokes an implicit neural response depending on what is learned about the protagonist. With a vast number of movies available, each depicting a variety of people with different identities, the PMSM method enables investigation of the brain's complex implicit biases in a manner that resembles real-life social perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60817
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number156
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Automatic response
  • Face perception
  • Implicit response
  • Ingroup
  • Issue 156
  • Movie
  • Naturalistic viewing
  • Neuroscience
  • Outgroup
  • Social bias
  • Subconscious
  • Subliminal


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