Progressive Awareness Research

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Subliminal Literature: Bibliography and Review


Peripheral Desk Reference F

Faenze, V. (1966) Conditions of equivocity of the response in relation to the problem of "subliminal" perception. Archivio Di Psicologia, Neurologia E Psichiatria, 27 (4-5), pp 443 445. ISSN: 0004-0150, Language: ITALIAN.

Under masking noise, subliminal language perception may be influenced by uncontrolled fluctuations.


Farne, M. (1965) Degree of discernability of the stimulus and perceptive behavior. Archivio Di Psicologia, Neurologia E Psichiatria, 26 (6), pp 566-567. ISSN: 0004-0150, Language: ITALIAN

Farne examined the degree of discernability of subliminal stimuli.


Farrar, J. E. (1989). The effects of subliminal visual stimuli and supraliminal simple sound on the affective states and involvement in treatment of chronic alcoholics, New York U, US.


Feldman, J.B. (1979). The utilization of the subliminal psychodynamic activation method in the further examination of conscious and unconscious measures of death anxiety. Dissertation Abstracts International, 39 (11-B), pp 5547-5548.

A method to experimentally induce death anxiety was devised to test the validity of four indirect measures of unconscious death anxiety.

The technique chosen was a variation of the subliminal psychodynamic activation method as devised by Silverman (Silverman, 1976).

Using a series of three pictorial and verbal stimuli, individuals could detect a flash of light, but could neither discern content or discriminate between a death related and neutral series of stimuli at 3 msec. duration of exposure.

Further studies using 3 msec. and 4 msec. duration indicated that the subliminal stimulation was effective in inducing death anxiety.

In this study, subjects received four series of three subliminal stimuli prior to the word recognition, word-association and association-recall tasks.

Subjects also completed a death anxiety questionnaire.
This study supported the findings of this author's previous study in terms of subjects' differential responsivity to death, neutral and sex-related words on a word-recognition, word association and association recall task.


Field, G.A. (1974). The unconscious organization. University of Windsor, Canada. Psychoanalytic Review, 61 (3), pp 333-354.

George Field discusses how, within an organization, there is an unconscious, where ideas and feelings unacceptable to the organizational superego or ego are actively repressed below the level of the organizational preconscious.
The organizational unconscious exerts a subliminal influence on organizational policies and actions.


Figueroa, M. D. (1989). "Comments on the subliminal psychodynamic activation method." American Psychologist 44(11): 1421-1422.

This article essentially sets forth the authors doubt of the psychodynamic activation method of Silverman's while lending confirmation to the idea that subliminal stimuli is processed differently than direct conscious processing.


Firestone, R.W. (1986). The "inner voice" and suicide. Psychotherapy, 23 (3), pp 439-447. ISSN: 0033-3204.

Although there is a lack of clear behavioral indications of potential suicide victims, there is clinical evidence that the majority of these people are tortured by a subliminal voice or thought process.

This subliminal voice is degrading and derisive to the self and normally accompanies feelings of depression and lowered self-esteem.

Under certain conditions, this system of hostile thoughts becomes progressively ascendant until it finally takes precedence over thought processes of rational self-interest.

Firestone suggests that, by using laboratory procedures, these thoughts can be formulated and brought directly into consciousness when they are put in terms of a "voice."

The dynamics and probable sources of the voice are analyzed and the relationship between this destructive thought process and actual suicidal behavior are explored.


Fisher, C. (1954). Dreams and perception. Journal of the American Psychoanalysis Association, 2, pp 389-445.


Fisher, C. (1956). Dreams, images and perception: A study of unconscious-preconscious relationships. Journal Of The American Psychoanalytical Association, 4, pp 5-48.


Fisher, C. (1960). Subliminal and supraliminal influence on dreams. American Journal Of Psychiatry, 116.


Fisher, S. (1975). Effects of messages reported to be out of awareness upon the body boundary. State University New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 161 (2), pp 90-99.

In a series of eight studies, it was found that out-of-awareness taped messages produced boundary decrement, as measured by the Barrier score (derived from the Holtzman Inkblot Test) in men.

The messages included hostility, depression, body, vulnerability and reassurance themes.
All themes, when properly primed, resulted in boundary decline in men.

Nonprimed and control conditions did not effect the boundary.
In contrast, no significant boundary changes were produced by the primed out-of-awareness themes in women.

It is proposed that men are more disturbed than women by feelings that material has gained entrance to them in a fashion which they cannot control.


Fisher, S. (1976). Conditions affecting boundary response to messages out of awareness. State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 162 (5), pp 313-322. ISSN: 0022-3018.

Seymour Fisher examined multiple studies which evaluated the role of various following parameters in mediating the effects of auditory subliminal inputs upon the body boundary.
The following questions were asked;

1) What is the effect of the subliminal stimulus upon the boundary if the individual is made aware that he is exposed to a subliminal input?

2) How specific must the priming process preceding a subliminal input be in order to potentiate its boundary effects?

3) How is the subliminal registration process altered by introducing a competing stimulus input?

4) Can the apparent stability of the woman's boundary in relation to subliminal input be decreased by introducing an input theme that might be considered particularly threatening to a woman?

5) What is the effect upon response to subliminal input of greatly increasing the amount of exposure to the input?

6) Can individual differences in response to subliminal input be predicted in terms of two variables;

a) degree of tolerance for unrealistic experiences, and

b) degree of masculinity-femininity?

In a series of six studies, a test-retest design was typically employed that involved measuring the baseline Barrier score with the Holtzman blots and then ascertaining the Barrier change when responding to a second series of Holtzman blots at the same tome that subliminal input was occurring.

Complex results emerged that defined in considerably new detail what facilitates and blocks the boundary-disrupting effects of subliminal messages in men and to a lesser degree in women.

It was found that;

a) an individual's awareness that he is being exposed to subliminal input does not effect the degree of boundary impact of that input,

b) subliminal input can be modified by the context in which it is presented,

c) subliminal effects depend upon the conditions of the subliminal input,

d) the increased duration of subliminal input produced an increase in boundary effect in females,

e) the increased duration of subliminal input produced a decrease in boundary effect in males,

f) priming does not need to be obviously and directly related to the subliminal message in order to potentiate it.

These findings show that subtle perceptual inputs that do not register in awareness may have a boundary impact.


Fisher, C. (1988). Further observations on the Poetzl phenomenon: the effects of subliminal visual stimulation on dreams, images and hallucinations. Psychoanalysis & Contemporary Thought, 2 (1), pp 3-56.

Findings suggest that subliminal information is utilized in hallucinations, dream imagery and creative processes such as those particularly discussed regarding P. Picasso.


Fisher, C.B., Glewick, D.S. & Blumenthal, R.S. (1986). Subliminal oedipal stimuli and competitive performance: An investigation of between-groups effects and mediating subject variables. Fordham University Bronx. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95 (3), pp 292-294. ISSN: 0021-843X.

Celia Fisher, David Glenwick and Rena Blumenthal assessed the effects of subliminal presentation of oedipal messages on the competitive performance of college males.
An additional investigation employing a between-groups design, in which Subjects received repeated presentations of 1 of 3 messages, was conducted.

The subjects completed the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.

The results indicated significant differences between performance following both oedipally related stimuli and the control stimulus for the replication groups.

There was no significant stimulus effects observed in the between-groups investigation, and no significant correlations between anxiety and dart-throwing performance were obtained.


Fisher, C. & Paul, I.H. (1959). The effects of subliminal visual stimulation on imagery and dreams. A validation study. Journal Of American Psychoanalytical Association, 7.

Fisher and Paul show that subliminal messages actually register within the unconscious without the subject being aware of it.

It was found that the recovery of subliminal stimuli in subsequent imagery is maximized by making the subject adopt a supine position in the dark.


Fisher, C.
(1988). Subliminal (preconcious) perception: The microgenesis of unconscious fantasy. Fantasy, myth, and reality: Essays in honor of Jacob A. Arlow, M.D. Y. K. Harold P. Blum, Arlene Kramer Richards, Arnold D. Richards,, International Universities Press, Inc, Madison, CT, US: 93-108.

(from the chapter) suggestion that unconscious fantasy pervades mental life, both waking and sleeping /// this work indicates that the dream process begins during the day, as the unconscious wish and the fantasies associated with it transfer their intensity onto the day residue /// it is suggested further that the dream work continues throughout the day, as further day residues are drawn into the dream process /// a combined dream/imagery experiment.

Fiss, H. (1966a). Physiognomic effects of subliminal stimulation. Perceptual and Motor skills, 22, pp 265-366. New York University.


Fiss, H. (1966b). The effects of experimentally induced changes in alertness on response to subliminal stimulation. Journal of Personality, 34 (4), pp 577-595. New York University. ISSN: 0022-3506.

Fiss examined the effects of experimentally induced changes in alertness on response to subliminal stimulation.


Fiss, H., Goldberg, F. & Klein G.S. (1963). Effects of subliminal stimulation on imagery and discrimination. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 17, pp 31-44.

Fiss, Goldberg and Klein examined the effects of subliminal stimulation on imagery and discrimination.


Fiss, H. (1993). The "royal road" to the unconscious revisited: A signal detection model of dream function. The functions of dreaming. SUNY series in dream studies. M. K. Alan Moffitt, Robert Hoffmann,, State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, US: 381-418.

(from the chapter) review the empirical foundation underlying this formulation of dream function (that dreams are the "royal road" to a cognitive unconscious of information processing and psychic structure building) / point out how this formulation fits the framework of signal detection theory and sketch the outlines of a unified signal detection model in terms of which the effects of subliminal stimuli administered in the waking state (subliminal activation) are understood to be analogous to the effects of what normally would be considered to be supraliminal stimuli applied during sleep (sleep stimulation) / (consider) the implications of this model for further experimental research, clinical practice, and theory.


Florek, W.G. (1985). An investigation of the effects of stimulation symbiotic fantasies in primipara females. St. John's University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 46 (5-B), p. 1720. ISSN: 0419-4209.

Walter Florek investigated the effects of symbiotic subliminal messages on the adaptation, anxiety and attitudes of primipara females towards pregnancy.


Florek, R. (1982). The effects of subliminal tachistoscopic presentation of drive-related stimuli on the cognitive functioning of paranoid and nonparanoid schizophrenics. Dissertation Abstracts International, 42 (10-B), pp 4190-4191. ISSN: 04104209.

Foodman, A. (1976). Hemispheric asymmetrical brain wave indicators of unconscious mental processes. Meninger Foundation, Topeka, KS. Journal of Operational Psychiatry, 7 (1), pp 3 15.

In this study, Allen Foodman explored the relationship between AER discrimination for subliminally presented stimuli and cerebral hemispheric functional asymmetry.
Three questions were posed to investigate the hypothesis:

1) Would AER laterality differences appear for picture, one of which is readily identified verbally and the other not?

2) Would AER laterality effects appear for subliminal as well as supraliminal presentations?

3) Would correlations be found between associations to the meaningful picture and the dominant side AERs?

The findings largely supported an affirmative answer to all these questions and thus demonstrated cerebral hemispheric asymmetry of unconscious mental processes.

A model was suggested to account for the findings.


Foster, R.P. (1982). The effects of subliminal tachistoscopic presentation of drive-related stimuli on the cognitive functioning of paranoid and nonparanoid schizophrenics. St. John's University Dissertation Abstracts International, 42 (10-B), pp 4190-4191. ISSN: 0419-4209.


Foulke, E. & Sticht, I.G. (1969). Review of research on the intelligibility and comprehension of accelerated speech. Psychological Bulletin, 72 (1), 50.


Fox, M. (1966). Differential effects of subliminal and supraliminal stimulation. Dissertation Abstracts, 27 (4-B), pp 1289-1290.

Major hypotheses tested were that subliminal stimuli can be effective in the absence of partial conscious cues and that subliminal and supraliminal stimuli produce differential effects.

Subjects viewed Happy and Angry (type A) figures subliminally and supraliminally, and a neutral line drawing of a face (type B) presented supraliminally. The presentations differed in that both the words and the face were visible in the supraliminal condition, whereas only the face was visible in the subliminal condition.

Changes in the subjects' descriptions of the face and the reaction times served as indices for the word's effects.

Responses were more pleasant when the face was paired (subliminally) with Happy rather than Angry. This indicates that the subjects' conscious processes were influenced by words of which they were unaware.

Sensitivity to subliminal stimuli was enhanced when the subjects suspended efforts at objectivity and passively gave themselves over to feelings and fantasies about the face they were describing.

Reaction time was no different between the subliminal and supraliminal conditions, nor was there any difference between the words within the conditions.

Distinctive effects were produced with subliminal and supraliminal stimulation. When the subjects made the visible words relevant to the task of describing the face, the words appeared more frequently in the descriptions from the supraliminal condition than with the subliminal condition. When the supraliminal figures were made irrelevant to the task, there was no significant difference in the number of reports of the words in the subliminal and supraliminal conditions. More direct expressions of the affect appeared in the subliminal than in the supraliminal condition.


Frauman, D.C. (1985). Effect of subliminal symbiotic activation on hypnotic rapport and susceptibility. Ohio University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 45, (9-B), p. 3068. ISSN: 0419-4209.


Frauman, D.C., Lynn, S.J., Hardaway, R. & Molteni, A. (1984). Effect of subliminal symbiotic activation on hypnotic rapport and susceptibility. St. Vincent Stress Center, Indianapolis, IN. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93 (4), pp 481-483. ISSN: 0021-843X.

David Frauman, Steven Lynn, Richard Hardaway and Andrew Molteni studied 2 groups of subjects matched for susceptibility (high, medium, low) as measured by the Stanford Hypnotic susceptibility scale -- Form A.

The experimental Subjects received symbiotic ("Mommy and I are one") subliminal stimulation via tachistoscope in a double-blind design. The comparison group received a psychodynamically neutral stimulus. ("People are walking").

Following subliminal stimulation, subjects were hypnotized individually.
Projective tasks that indexed rapport with the hypnotist and the mother were administered during hypnosis. Rapport was also measured by rated intimacy of self-disclosure topics and by valence of topics selected to disclose to the hypnotics.

MANOVA showed that symbiotic fantasies had an impact on measures assumed to be relevant to affective, relationship factors in hypnosis.

Subjects in the "Mommy" group selected more positively valanced topics to disclose to the hypnotist. However, no interaction between hypnotic susceptibility level and symbiotic activation was found, suggesting that susceptibility does not mediate the rapport.


Fribourg, A. (1981, June). The effect of fantasies of merging with a good mother on schizophrenic pathology. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 169 (6), pp 337-347. ISSN: 0022-3018.

This study was carried out in order to investigate the effect of the subliminal symbiotic stimulation alone and in conjunction with an enhancement procedure on the pathology of relatively differentiated and relatively undifferentiated schizophrenics.

It was hypothesized that enhancing the positive attributes of the schizophrenic's image of his mother prior to stimulating a fantasy of a symbiotic merger might increase his ability to benefit from the subliminal symbiotic stimulus.

The results did not support this hypothesis.
Differentiated schizophrenics who received both enhancement procedure and the subliminal symbiotic stimulus showed no pathology reduction, whereas differentiated schizophrenics who received only the subliminal symbiotic stimulus manifested significant reductions in both pathological thinking and pathological behavior.

Undifferentiated schizophrenics showed no reduction in pathology after the symbiotic stimulus regardless of whether or not they also received the enhancement procedure.
The subliminal enhancement alone, ie. without the symbiotic stimulus, resulted in reductions in pathological behavior for both differentiated and undifferentiated schizophrenics.

It was concluded that although enhancing the positive attributes of the schizophrenic's maternal representation did not increase his ability to benefit from subliminal symbiotic stimulation, it did reduce pathology in it's own right.


Friedman, S. (1976) Perceptual registration of the analyst outside of awareness. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 45 (1), pp 128-130.

Stanley Friedman describes a dream analysis which he knew in advance referred to his patient's perceptual registration of him outside of awareness in an extra-analytic setting.


Frith, U. (1972). The Georgian School of psychology: Impressions from a visit to Tbilisi. Medical Research Council Developmental Psychology Unit, London, England. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, 25 (88), pp 197-201.

Uta Frith describes and discusses the concept of "set" which is central to the Georgian school of psychology. The original experiments leading to set theory are described.
Ongoing research, not hitherto published in English is described: a study of the cognitive structures of educationally subnormal children, an experiment in subliminal perception and a series of studies in semantics.


Fritzler, D.E., Shevrin, H. & Smith, W.H. (1970). Subliminally stimulated brain and verbal responses of twins differing in repressiveness. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 76, (1), pp 39 46. ISSN: 0021-843X.

By combining the average evoked response (AER) technique with subliminal stimulation, it has been possible to investigate unconscious mental processes in an objective and replicable way.

Previous work has shown that the AER can discriminate between two subliminal stimuli (flashed at 1 msec.), while free associations have been found to contain stimulus related words.

Repressiveness, as rated on the basis of Rorschach performance, appears to be related to a diminution of evoked response amplitude and stimulus-related associates.
In the current study, 12 pairs of twins were used as subjects.

Six pairs differed markedly in repressiveness; 6 pairs were similar in repressiveness.
Replicating previous results, it was found that the repressive twins had smaller AER amplitudes than their nonrepressive siblings and associated fewer stimulus-related words.
For supraliminal exposure (30 msec.), there was a tendency for amplitude of ARE to be reversed as a function of repressiveness.

The findings are discussed with respect to attentional and defensive factors.


Froufe, T.M. & Sierra, D. B. (1985). Perception without awareness. University Autonoma de Madrid, Spain. Boletin de Psicologia (Spain), 7, pp 7-50. Language: SPANISH.

This article provides a review of the literature concerning the relationship between consciousness and perception and the issue of subliminal perception.

Methodological issues are discussed, as are selective attention, central masking and binocular rivalry.

Conscious and unconscious perceptual processes are compared.


Froufe Torres, M. (1986). "Bias in the emission of judgments induced by masked verbal elements: Decisions made in ignorance." Revista de Psicologia General y Aplicada 41(4): 695 718.

This study presents implications for the use of subliminally masked verbal messages to influence psychophysical judgements.


Frumkes, T.E., Sekuler, M.D., Barris, M.C., Reiss, E.H. & Chalupa, L.M. (1973). Rod Cone interaction in human scotopic vision -- I. temporal analysis. Queens College, City University of New York. Vision Research, 13 (7), pp 1269-1282.

Frumkes, Sekuler, Barris, Reiss and Chalupa studied the subliminal interactions between spatially superimposed stimuli in dark-adapted human observers.

Rods and cones were selectively stimulated.

Contrary to prior research, rod-cone interaction was demonstrated and rod signals were found to have a longer latency than cone signals.


Fudin, R. (1986). Subliminal psychodynamic activation: Mommy and I are not yet one. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 63 (3), pp 1159-1179.


Fudin, R. (1987). Subliminal psychodynamic activation: note on illumination and the bleaching hypothesis. Perceptual & Motor Skill, 64 (3 - part 2), pp 1223-1230.


Fudin, R. (1987). Response to Weinberger's comments on "subliminal psychodynamic activation: Mommy and I are not yet one". Perceptual & Motor Skills, 64 (2), pp 639-642.


Fudin, R. and C. Benjamin (1991). "Review of auditory subliminal psychodynamic activation experiments." Perceptual & Motor Skills 73(3, Pt 2): Spec Issue 1115-1136.

Examines the literature regarding auditory psychodynamic activation (SPS) experiments and concludes that the data is inconclusive. However, the authors also conclude that auditory SPA appears to have advantage over visual SPA.


Fudin, R. and C. Benjamin (1992). "Subliminal psychodynamic activation: Updated comprehensive list of experimental results and comments on previous lists." Perceptual & Motor Skills 74(3, Pt 1): 959-977.

The authors present a comprehensive overview of the SPA literature and conclude that the SPA theory is neither confirmed or negated by the experiments reviewed.


Fudin, R. (1993). "Comments on Hudesman, Page and Rautiainen's (1992) subliminal psychodynamic activation experiment." Perceptual & Motor Skills 76(1): 41-42.


Fudin, R. (1993). "Comments on Hudesman and Page's reply to Fudin's comments on Hudesman, Page and Rautianen's subliminal psychodynamic activation experiment." Perceptual & Motor Skills 76(3, Pt 1): 856-858.


Fulford, P.F. (1980). The effect of subliminal merging stimuli on test anxiety. Doctoral dissertation, St. John's University, New York. Dissertation Abstracts International, 41 (4-B), p. 1503.

Paul Fulford examined the effect of subliminal merging stimuli on test anxiety.
The question asked was "whether the subliminal stimulation of symbiotic fantasies would decrease test anxiety states".

Results were measured by verbal recognition memory, psychomotor performance (as measured by a test of reaction time), and state anxiety scores on the State Trait Anxiety Inventory.

Group one received the experimental stimulus "Mommy and I are one".
Group two received the neutral stimulus "People are walking".

During each session, all subjects received pre- and post-treatment measures of psychomotor performance, anxiety level and verbal recognition memory.
Subjects in the experimental group were found to exhibit an increased level of verbal recognition memory.

The hypothesis that psychomotor activity, as measured by a test of reaction time, would be affected by the experimental treatment was not supported.

These results are consistent with studies where no relation between physiological measures and anxiety levels were found, using blood pressure and heart rate.


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