CAT 2019 Question Paper (Slot 1) Question 29

Question 29

The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders alerted the public to the psychoanalytical techniques used by the advertising industry. Its premise was that advertising agencies were using depth interviews to identify hidden consumer motivations, which were then used to entice consumers to buy goods. Critics and reporters often wrongly assumed that Packard was writing mainly about subliminal advertising. Packard never mentioned the word subliminal, however, and devoted very little space to discussions of “subthreshold” effects. Instead, his views largely aligned with the notion that individuals do not always have access to their conscious thoughts and can be persuaded by supraliminal messages without their knowledge.


In this context, "Psychoanalytical analytical technique" implies that the advertising agencies are adapting methods to tap into the unconscious mind of the consumers. They are conducting detailed interviews to identify hidden motivations.

Here, subliminal advertising represents some portion of the ad being difficult to comprehend or simply put, when one of the motives of the ad is so subtle that it is difficult to be understood by a layman.

While supraliminal advertising can be clearly conceived by most people.

Packard claims that the 'Hidden persuaders' use supraliminal advertising to entice customers by tapping into consumers without their knowledge.  (....can be persuaded by supraliminal messages without their knowledge.)

Option B and D say that the method is subliminal, hence, it is incorrect
Option C says that people are well aware about being persuaded, hence incorrect.
Option A is a wholesome summary of the method of persuation.

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