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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 968753, 15 pages
Research Article

Subliminal Cues While Teaching: HCI Technique for Enhanced Learning

Département d'Informatique et de Recherche Opérationnelle, Université de Montréal, Office 2194, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T 1J4

Received 2 June 2010; Accepted 25 September 2010

Academic Editor: Kenneth Revett

Copyright © 2011 Pierre Chalfoun and Claude Frasson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents results from an empirical study conducted with a subliminal teaching technique aimed at enhancing learner's performance in Intelligent Systems through the use of physiological sensors. This technique uses carefully designed subliminal cues (positive) and miscues (negative) and projects them under the learner's perceptual visual threshold. A positive cue, called answer cue, is a hint aiming to enhance the learner's inductive reasoning abilities and projected in a way to help them figure out the solution faster but more importantly better. A negative cue, called miscue, is also used and aims at obviously at the opposite (distract the learner or lead them to the wrong conclusion). The latest obtained results showed that only subliminal cues, not miscues, could significantly increase learner performance and intuition in a logic-based problem-solving task. Nonintrusive physiological sensors (EEG for recording brainwaves, blood volume pressure to compute heart rate and skin response to record skin conductivity) were used to record affective and cerebral responses throughout the experiment. The descriptive analysis, combined with the physiological data, provides compelling evidence for the positive impact of answer cues on reasoning and intuitive decision making in a logic-based problem-solving paradigm.