Abstract

Subliminal stimuli can affect perception, decision-making, and action without being accessible to conscious awareness. Most evidence supporting this notion has been obtained in highly controlled laboratory conditions. Hence, its generalization to more realistic and ecologically valid contexts is unclear. Here, we investigate the impact of subliminal cues in an immersive navigation task using the so-called eXperience Induction Machine (XIM), a human accessible mixed-reality system. Subjects were asked to navigate through a maze at high speed. At irregular intervals, one group of subjects was exposed to subliminal aversive stimuli using the masking paradigm. We hypothesized that these stimuli would bias decision-making. Indeed, our results confirm this hypothesis and indicate that a subliminal channel of interaction exists between the user and the XIM. These results are relevant in our understanding of the bandwidth of communication that can be established between humans and their physical and social environment, thus opening up to new and powerful methods to interface humans and artefacts.

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