Several years ago there were urban legends about subliminal messages. They ranged from secret advertising in the muzak played in department stores to satanic messages you could only hear if you played rock songs backwards. Much of this was nothing more than fear and superstition but in 1974 the FCC banned subliminal advertising.

The effectiveness of subliminal messaging has long been debated. But nonetheless it is indisputable that the mind does process some information on a subconscious level. And we now know that sexual orientation plays a part in how that information is processed.

A new study at the University of Minnesota looked at responses to invisible naked pictures and found that they do distract participants.

In a small basement laboratory of Elliot Hall, University students stared at naked pictures on computer screens, though they didn’t know it. And it was all for science.

University psychologists discovered that when nude images are subliminally shown to people, their brains still recognize them. The study reveals new insights into unconscious brain activity.

And even more interesting, the brain processes information differently based on one’s sexual orientation.

According to the study results, straight men’s attention was attracted to a space when shown an invisible image of a naked woman and repelled from a nude male image.

Similarly, straight women were attracted to pictures of naked men, but they did not react strongly one way or the other when presented images of nude women.

Gay men behaved similarly to straight women, he said. The study showed the responses of gay/bisexual women to be in between those of straight men and straight women.

This study adds to the increasing evidence that sexual orientation is lodged at the deepest levels of one’s being. If refutes those who suggest that orientation does not exist or is nothing more than a self-assigned label.

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