Say the Magic Word

How different words can change behavior

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDayNews) -- Subliminal messages can work -- if you use the right words.

As reported in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom subjected a group of 100 women who hadn't eaten in four hours to different subliminal messages. Then the women were given a chance to eat.

Here are the results: The subliminal word gallery was used as a neutral control. As expected, women who were exposed to that word didn't show any special eating patterns. But neither did women who were shown the word happy or -- and this may be a surprise -- the word hungry.

What words did make women eat more? The runner up was angry, and the word that had the most effect was lonely.

Last Updated: