Suggestion

Suggestions are planted in people's minds with the help of images (the term 'image' is here used to include auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory, as well as visual images).

We are bombarded with visual images through various media: TV, movies, magazines, window displays, brochures, billboards, and so on. Since psychoanalysis discovered that our subconscious mind thinks in terms of symbols as well as images, symbols have become an important vehicle for transmitting suggestions: a photograph of a man's hand holding a box of detergent is retouched to accentuate the hairs growing on the back of the hand. Why? In order to enhance its virile symbolism and suggest that the detergent is more powerful.

It is more difficult to alter olfactory, tactile and gustatory images in this way, since they usually take the form of free samples of a given product.

Auditory images, on the other hand, are easily enhanced. Sound effects like the click of a seat belt being fastened, or the glug-glug of wine being poured from a bottle, are powerful suggestions, but the most powerful of all auditory images is language itself.

Animals possess five senses and their mental representations, constituting what Pavlov called the 'primary signaling system.' Man, because of his superior cerebral potential, developed a second signaling system, connected to the first, which greatly facilitates the transmission, manipulation, compila tion, association and abstraction of cerebral images. This second system is language. People can directly transmit their own cerebral images to others, through the power of words and their influence on the mind. It is this same power, called terpnos logos, that sophrologists use to create new associations or unblock inhibited mental processes.

Various factors are used to reinforce the power of a suggestion:

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