Daniel Gilbert (Edge.org)
This study wasn’t about subliminal messages, of course. Like many psychological studies, this one was meant to be an allegory. It suggests that under some circumstances people can misattribute the uplifting work that their brains have done to a fictitious external source. Brains strive to provide the best view of things, but because the owners of those brains don’t know this, they are surprised when things seem to turn out for the best. To explain this surprising fact, people sometimes invoke an external source—a subliminal message in the laboratory, God in everyday life.