Progressive Awareness Research

Improving Lives One Person at a Time since 1984.

Subliminal Literature: Bibliography and Review


Peripheral Desk Reference G

Gable, M., Wilkens, H.T., Harris, L. & Feinberg, R. (1987). An evaluation of subliminally embedded sexual stimuli in graphics. Journal of Advertising, 16 (1), pp 26-31.

This studied evaluated the effects of sexual embeds in advertising. The researchers concluded that subliminally embedding sexual material in advertising did not influence consumer preference.


Gabriecik, A., Fazio, R.H. (1984). Priming and frequency estimation: A strict test of the availability heuristic. Indiana University, Bloomington. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 10 (1), pp 85-89. ISSN: 0146-1672.

Adele Gabriecik & Russell Fazio studied the mediating process by manipulating availability directly using a subliminal priming procedure.

In Experiment 1, the subjects participated in a recognition experiment that showed that the word presentation was indeed subliminal.

In Experiment 2, the subjects were exposed to a series of words, none of which contained the letter "T"; identification of the words was intended to give subjects practice at the task. Subjects were then asked to identify 4 words out of the 40 flashed words (each containing the letter "T").

Finally subjects were primed with "T" words or not so primed as they verbally identified the words presented in each trail and were asked to judge the occurrence of letters.

Results show that subjects primed with the letter "T" judged the letter to occur more frequently than did the unprimed subjects.

It is suggested that the mediating process underlying use of availability heuristic is based on the ease of retrieval for frequency estimation.


Gade, P.A., & Gertman, D. (1979). Listening to compressed speech: The effects of instructions, experience and preference. Technical Paper 369, Education Technology and Simulation Technical Area, Alexandria, VA; U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Paul Gade and David Gertman attempted to assess the effects of different information seeking strategies on the rate at which individuals chose to listen to passages of time-compressed speech, and on their comprehension of those passages.

The research also assessed the effects of prior experience with compressed speech on listening rates and on comprehension by the subjects.

The subjects were asked to listen to 4 passages of speech in a self-paced situation, ie. at rates that would allow them to process the information ar rapidly as possible with no loss in comprehension.

Prior to listening to the passages, half of the participants were required to listen to speech compressed to twice the normal rate, whilst the other half listened to speech at the normal rate. Half of each of these two prior-experience groups were given instruction designed to induce epistemic curiosity motivation.

The remaining subjects in each of the prior- experience groups were given neutral instructions.

All participants were given 10-item, multiple choice comprehension tests at the end of each speech passage.

After listening to the fourth speech passage, participants were asked to indicate their preferred listening rates.

Speed and accuracy in listening to compressed speech were not effected by the epistemic curiosity conditions.

Prior exposure to compressed speech led to consistently faster listening rates on each of the four passages of speech.

Personnel preferred to listen to speech rates well above normal speaking rates.
Prior experience with compressed speech did not influence preferred listening rates.
Prior experience with compressed speech did, however, influence the subjects' listening rates when they were induced to listen to speech as rapidly as possible (p < .001).
Results were discussed in terms of Berlyne's (1954 & 1960) epistemic curiosity hypothesis, and in relation to the results of preference research by Lass, Foulke, Nester and Comerci (1974).


Gadlin, W. & Fiss, H. (1967). Odor as a facilitator of the effects of subliminal stimulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 7 (1), pp 95-100. ISSN: 0022-3514.


Gaethke-Brandt, J.E. (1986). The effect of auditory subliminal deactivating messages on motor and task performance of hyperkinetic children. Dissertation Abstracts International, 47 (4-A), p. 1184.
Galbraith, P.L. & Barton, B.W. (1990). Subliminal Relaxation: Myth or Method. Weber State University. Unpublished Dissertation.

Patricia Galbraith and Brad Barton carried out this study in order to ascertain whether subliminals are effective as relaxation tools, and if they are, how lasting is the effect.
The hypothesis is that the subliminal messages will cause a lower anxiety score on both the physiological and subjective measures, and that these effects can be maintained for at least 24 hours.

The true purpose of the experiment was disguised for the subjects so as to reduce the bias which might accompany the demand characteristics.

The experimenters were kept blind by not knowing the content of the subliminal and placebo tapes, until all the subjects were run.

The subliminal tapes used were created by Dr. Eldon Taylor of Progressive Awareness Research, using a patented process.

Three biological measures of anxiety were used; middle and index finger's Galvanic Skin Response, peripheral skin temperature recorded at the wrist, and the digital extensor muscle potential.

To obtain pre- and post-test measures of the subjective level of anxiety, the State Trait Anxiety Inventory was used.

Using a 2-way ANOVA, it was found that the overall effect of the subliminal messages as compared to the placebo tapes was insignificant. This does not, however, rule out that a possible positive subliminal effect could still exist. Variables such as a longer exposer time and more sensitive recording analysis procedures may increase the detection of a positive effect. The large individual differences also suggest the need for a more adequate sample size.

Although the bio-feedback measures for the experiment did not uphold the original hypothesis for the experiment, the State Trait Anxiety Inventory did show a significant decrease due to the subjects' exposure to the subliminal tape.


Galland, J.H. (1967). The effects of experimental drive arousal on response to subliminal stimulation. New York University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 27 (11-b), p. 4123.

Jeffrey Galland examined the effects of experimental drive arousal on response to subliminal stimulation.


Ganovski, L. (1977). The role of peripheral perceptions in solving mental tasks. Ministry of Public Education, Suggestology Research Institute, Sofia Bulgaria. Activatas Nervosa Superior, 19 (4), pp 280-281. ISSN: 0001-7604.

Ganovski examined the role of peripheral perceptions in solving mental tasks.
It was found that unconscious perception contributes to solving mental tasks, and also that this effect is more evident in girls than boys.


Geisler, C.J. (1983). A new experimental method for the study of the psychoanalytic concept of repression. New York University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 43 (11-B), p. 3757. ISSN: 0419-4209.


Geisler, C.J. (1986). The use of subliminal psychodynamic activation in the study of repression. New York University, School of Social Work. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51 (4), pp 884-851. ISSN: 0022-3514.

Carol Geisler used subliminal psychodynamic activation in the study of the clinical phenomenon of repression.

The subjects selected for the presence of high sexual guilt were divided into 2 groups.
One group showed a high degree of personality development.

From this it was inferred that this group was prone toward;

(a) the use of repression rather than more primitive defenses, and

(b) oedipal rather than pre-oedipal conflict.

The second group showed a lesser degree of personality development, thus the above inferences did not apply.

The subliminal psychodynamic activation method was used with both groups to evaluate effects on repression of intensifying and diminishing unconscious conflict over sexual wishes.
The subjects were exposed to verbal stimuli, which were;

a) conflict intensifying, ("Loving Dad is wrong"),

b) conflict reducing, ("Loving Daddy is OK"), and

c) neutral control, ("People are walking").

Each stimuli type was accompanied by a congruent picture both before (in 1 condition) and after (in another condition) a recall test of both neutral and sexual material. The conflict-reduction condition did not affect memory of the passages, but the conflict-intensification condition did

(a) for the group with the greater degree of personality development,

(b) when this condition was presented before the material to be remembered and

(c) for the recall of neutral passages.

The special conditions necessary for the demonstration of repression show why it has previously been difficult to show evidence of repression in laboratory experiments.


Genkina, O.A. & Shostakovich, G.S. (1983). Elaboration of a conditioned reflex in chronic alcoholics using an unrecognizable motivationally significant word. Zh. Vyssh. Nerv. Deiat., 33 (6), pp 1010-1018.


Genkino, O.A. & Shostakovich, G.S. (1986). Conditioning of patients with chronic alcoholism by means of a subthreshold motivationally significant word. Soviet Neurology & Psychiatry, Sum. vol. 19 (2), pp 87-100.

Researchers demonstrated that the subthreshold presentation of the word "Vodka" to alcoholics resulted in an increased P300 wave change, as compared to the subthreshold presentation of a neutral word.


Genkino, O.A. & Shostakovich, G.S. (1987). Cortical evoked activity in the process of elaborating a conditioned connection using an unrecognizable word. Fiziol. Cheloveka., 13 (3), pp 369-378.


George, S.G. & Jennings, L.B. (1972). Re-examination of effect of a subliminal verbal food stimulus on subjective hunger ratings. Psychological Reports, 30 (2), pp 521-522. ISSN: 0033 2941.

Stephen George and Luther Jennings examined the effects of subliminal verbal food stimulus.

The word "cheese" was flashed 30 times for two sets of experimental and control groups.
One set received the stimulus below, the other significantly above, a forced choice detection threshold.

There was no significant increase in hunger ratings found, nor was there even a trend.
The results obtained therefore with Spence (1964) who did not use a valid forced-choice method or control group.


Gheorghiu, V. & Kruse, P. (1990). The psychology of suggestion: and integrative perspective. In Human Suggestibility by J.F. Schunaku. Routledge.

Vladimir Gheorghiu and Peter Kruse discuss integrative approaches to modern psychology through the research of suggestive influences.
The subject matter includes discussions between ambiguity and stability, categorizing three mechanisms;

1) reflex,

2) suggestion, and

3) rational.

It is suggested that suggestion is a strategy to make unambiguous and stable order an indispensable basis of action.
Correlations between suggestion/suggestibility and stability are made.


Giddan, N.S. (1967). Recovery through images of briefly flashed stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35 (1), pp 1-19. ISSN: 0022-3506.


Giovacchini, P.L. (1984). The quest for dependent autonomy. University of Illinois College of Medicine. International Forum for Psychoanalysis, 1 (2), pp 153-166. ISSN: 0738-8217.

Peter Giovacchini examined the scientific testing of hypotheses in psychoanalytic research.
In particular, he referred to the testing of hypotheses by L.H. Silverman et al.
It was Silverman who hypothesized that fulfillment of fantasies of oneness and symbiosis could, under some circumstances, help schizophrenic patients.

In this article, it was argued that, while the work of Silverman et al does reveal a good deal about characterological psychopathology and therapy, it is an oversimplification to give this state of oneness a dominant position in emotional development and therapeutic integration.


Glennon, S.S. (1984). The effect of functional brain asymmetry and hemisphericity on the subliminal activation of residual oedipal conflicts. New York University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 44 (12-b), pp 3931-3932. ISSN: 0419-4209.

Subjects were tachistopically exposed to oedipal conflicts arousing and conflict-alleviating messages and congruent pictures.

The response, or sensitivity, to the conflict-related stimuli, was measured by the subject's dart-throwing ability.

With the main group of subjects, the stimuli were sent first to the right hemisphere and then to the left. This was in order to test the hypothesis that the right hemisphere may be the locus of unconscious processes.

The hemisphericity of the subjects was tested using the conjugate lateral eye movement test.

It was hypothesized that the right hemisphericity subjects would be more responsive to the subliminal stimuli.

With another group of subjects it was hypothesized that the strongest results would be found when the verbal messages were sent to the left hemisphere, and a congruent picture to the right.

No effects were found due to either hemispheric placement or the hemisphericity of the subjects.

The most significant results were found when the verbal messages were sent to the right brain and the congruent pictures to the left.


Glover, E.D. (1977). The influence of subliminal perception on smoking behavior. Texas Woman's University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 38 (9-A), p. 5265.

Elbert Glover attempted to find out whether subliminal perception could be used as a means for altering cigarette smoking behavior.

The experimental situation consisted of two different films, shown at two different sessions, with subliminal stimulation for the treatment group.

The entire association between smoking and quitting smoking was presented subliminally.
The results showed that smoking behavior was not altered by subliminal perception as carried out in this study.


Glover, E.D. (1979). Decreasing smoking behavior through subliminal stimulation treatments. Journal of Drug Education, 9 (3), pp 273-283.


Goldiamond, I. (1958). Indicators of perception: I. Subliminal perception, subception, unconscious perception: An analysis in terms of psychophysical indicator methodology. Psychological Bulletin, 55, pp 373-411.


Goldstein, M.J. & Barhol, R.P. Fantasy response to subliminal stimuli. Journal of Social and Abnormal Psychology, pp 22-26.


Goldstein, M.J. & Davis, D. (1961). The impact of stimuli registering outside of awareness upon personal preferences. Journal of Personality, 29.


Goldstone, G., Goldfarb, J., Strong, J. & Russell, J. (1962). Replication: the effect of subliminal shock upon the judged intensity of weak shock. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 14, p. 222.


Golland, J.H. (1967). The effects of experimental drive arousal on response to subliminal stimulation. New York University. Dissertation Abstracts, 27 (11-B), p. 4123.

Jeffrey Golland examined the effects of aggressive subliminal stimulation.


Goncalves, O.F. & Ivey, A.E. (1987). The effects of unconscious presentation of information on therapist conceptualizations, intentions and responses. University of Porto, Faculty of Psychology, Portugal. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43 (2), pp 237-245. ISSN: 0021-9762.

Oscar Goncalves and Allen Ivey studied the effects of tachistoscopic presentation of affective words on subjects' conceptualizations, intentions, and responses to a simulated client.
Four treatments were used;

1) subliminal negative emotional concepts,

2) subliminal positive emotional concepts,

3) supraliminal negative emotional concepts, and

4) supraliminal positive emotional concepts.

After the treatment, the subjects were exposed to a simulated client, whom they were asked to evaluate, respond to, and report the cognitive intentions that guided their responses.
It was found that the subliminal presentation of positive emotional concepts on subjects' conceptualizations, intentions, and responses had a significant effect.


Gonzalez, J.L. (1985). Subliminal stimulation and psychopathologic diagnosis. Psiquis, 6 (1), pp 30+.


Gonzalez, J. L., E. Paolini, et al. (1989). "The unconscious in psychology and psychoanalysis." Psiquis 10(2): 15-25.

This paper discusses the empirical evidence that supports the hypothesis that subliminal stimuli may have an effect on behavior.


Gordon, C.M. & Spence, D.P. (1966). The facilitating effects of food set and food deprivation on responses to a subliminal food stimulus. Research Center For Mental Health, New York University. Journal of Personality, 34 (3), pp 406-415. ISSN: 0022-3506.

Carol Gordon and Donald Spence tested whether the sensitivity to a subliminal stimulus could be increased by arousing a congruent cognitive set in food-deprived subjects.
The experimental group read a paragraph about food while the control group read a non food related paragraph.

Both groups were then exposed to subliminal cheese stimulus, followed by a supraliminal list of cheese associates and matched control words.
A second set of subjects were exposed to the same paragraphs and a blank slide, followed again by the same list of words.

Subjects who had been deprived of food, and were presented with the food set and the subliminal stimulus, showed a greater effect then the subjects who had not been deprived of food, who read the non-food paragraph and were exposed to the subliminal stimulus.
It was suggested that the subject's cognitive awareness is particularly important when using verbal stimuli and verbal responses.

The subjects's must also be helped to code his bodily sensations, particularly when the stimulus is subliminal.


Gordon G. (1967). Semantic determination by subliminal verbal stimuli: A quantitative approach, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of London.

Gordon used a semantic differential to measure the degree of subliminal perception.

Gordon, W.K. (1983). Combination of cognitive group therapy and subliminal stimulation in treatment of text-anxious college males. North Texas State University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 43 (11-B), p. 3731. ISSN: 0419-4209.


Grant, R.H. (1980). The effects of subliminally projected visual stimuli on skill development, selected attention, and participation in racquetball by college students. East Texas State University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 41 (2-A), p, 585.

Roger Grant carried out this study in order to investigate the effects of subliminally presented visual stimuli on;

1) the development of racquetball ceiling shot skill,

2) the submission of selected attention toward the racquetball ceiling shot, and

3) the response level for participation in racquetball.

Subjects underwent one of four treatments;

1) no exposure to subliminal stimuli,

2) exposure to a subliminally projected film loop depicting two demonstrations of the racquetball ceiling shot - one performed by a male, the other a female,

3) exposure to a subliminally projected slide containing a man and a woman embracing in the nude with the superimposed words "racquetball", "relate" and "sex", and

4) exposure to a simultaneous subliminal projection of a film loop depicting two demonstrations of the racquetball ceiling shot - one performed


Greenberg, R.P. & Fisher, S. (1980). Freud's penis-baby equation: Exploratory tests of a controversial theory. State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 53 (4), pp 333-342. ISSN: 0007-1129.

Roger Greenberg and Seymour Fisher studied Freud's idea that pregnancy has phallic significance for women.

Tests were carried out to see whether there is a link between pregnancy and phallic imagery.

It was found that there is such a link as subjects produced significantly more phallic imagery on an inkblot measure during pregnancy than they produced in the nonpregnant state.
Pregnant subjects also produced significantly more phallic imagery than did a control group of nonpregnant subjects.

The "penis-baby" link was seen as the subjects increased significantly in their phallic imagery under the impact of a subliminal pregnancy message.

No such increase occurred in the group of subjects who receiving a subliminal message dealing with being penetrated.


Greenberg, A. C. (1990). Response to subliminally activated fantasies of symbiotic-like oneness: A function of gender or psychological differentiation?, Long Island U Brooklyn Ctr, NY, US.


Greenberg, A. C. (1990). "Response to subliminally activated fantasies of symbiotic-like oneness: A function of gender or psychological differentiation?" Perceptual & Motor Skills 71(3, Pt 2): 1179-1187.

Results of this study show that subjects highly differentiated from their mothers responded adaptively to the symbiotic message "Mommy and I are One," developed by Silverman. However, the data did not reach statistical significance.


Greenberg, A. C. (1992). "Subliminal psychodynamic activation method and annihilation anxiety: Preliminary findings." Perceptual & Motor Skills 74(1): 219-225.

This study employed the presentation of the "momy and I are One" message via tachistoscope presentation to measure the effect on annihilation anxiety, state anxiety and psychological differentiation. Results showed a significantly lower anxiety in female subjects but a negative correlation in male subjects between annihilation anxiety and psychological differentiation.


Greenwald, A. G., E. R. Spangenberg, et al. (1991). "Double-blind tests of subliminal self-help audiotapes." Psychological Science 2(2): 119-122.

This study employed commercially available subliminal self-help (SSH) audiotapes to measure the expectation factor and labels. The researchers obtained commercial tapes from five companies in the domains of self esteem and memory. They switched the labels on the tapes and measured outcome statistically and from self reports. General findings suggest that the influence of the label played a role in expectation and reported effect (self appraisal) but statistical data failed to support the self appraisal reports.
This study led the researchers to condemn all SSH as therapeutically ineffective.


Groeger, J.A. (1984) Evidence of unconscious semantic processing from a forced error situation. Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. British Journal of Psychology, 75 (3), pp 305 314. ISSN: 0007-1269.

Groeger carried out a study to determine whether subjects extract information from words presented below their recognition and awareness thresholds.

A series of target words was used to generate the word matrix, which was a set of 24 words related to the target word.

The subjects chose the word they thought had been shown from the word matrix for that particular target.

It was thought that the alternative chosen was a function of the type of processing the target was receiving.

It was found that structural analysis of the target predominated below recognition threshold, whereas semantic analysis predominated below awareness threshold.


Groeger, J.A. (1986). Predominant and non-predominant analysis: Effects of level of presentation. MRC Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, England. British Journal of Psychology, 77 (1), pp 109-116. ISSN: 007-1269.

In a previous study, Groeger found that stimuli outside awareness receive a predominantly semantic analysis, whereas unrecognized stimuli are processed in a predominantly structural fashion.

The aim of this study was to extend these findings to another sense mode -- hearing -- and a different task -- sentence completion.

From the results it was seen that non-predominant analyses, if carried out at all, did not influence the outcomes of predominant processing.

This suggests that the type of analysis automatically carried out on stimuli depends on the level at which they are received and requires a complex, nonlinear view of the perceptual process.


Groeger, J. A. (1986). "Preconscious influences on word substitutions." Irish Journal of Psychology 7(2): 88-97.

Subthreshold effects were shown in this study that evaluate priming at subawareness and subrecognition levels.


Gruber, R.P. (1970). Learning without verbalization of awareness. Psychology, 7 (1), pp 2-8. Biomedical Department, Edgewood Arsenal, MD.

Ronald Gruber discusses learning without verbalization.
Examples of learning without the verbalization of awareness include;

1) sleep,

2) state-dependent learning,

3) conditioning under anesthesia,

4) learning after bilateral hippocampal lesions,

5) unilateral cerebral hemispheric learning,

6) agnosia,

7) nonverbal classical conditioning, and

8) subception.

Also discussed was the potential for more such learning situations.


Grzegolowska-Klarkowska, H. (1981). Perceptual defense -- mechanics, correlates, synthesis: II. Przeglad Psychologiczny, 24 (2), pp 299-318. ISSN: 004-85675.

Helena Grzegolowska-Klarkowska discusses perceptual defense .
From the learning and information processing theory, possible mechanics for the way perceptual defense (PD) works are pit forward.

Also discussed is subception versus the perception of the partial cues hypothesis.
It is concluded that PD and repression are two different defense mechanisms that operate at different points along the information processing continuum.


Gustafson, R. and H. Kallmen (1990). "Subliminal stimulation and cognitive and motor performance." Perceptual & Motor Skills 71(1): 87-96.

This study presented the symbiotic Mommy message to 60 adults before testing motor performance. The results showed a significant improvement in motor performance, but not evenly for all subjects.


Gustafson, R. and H. Kallmen (1990). "Reply to Fudin's comments on Gustafson and Kallmen's experiment on subliminal psychodynamic activation." Perceptual & Motor Skills 71(3, Pt 1): 1029-1030.

Gustafson, R. and H. Kallmen
(1991). "Subliminal psychodynamic activation: An experiment controlling for major possible confounding influences outlined by Fudin." Perceptual & Motor Skills 73(1): 163-171.

Fudin's recommendation to control for confounding and irrelevant influences was applied in two experiments with the "Mommy" symbiotic. Results showed significant improvement in motor performance but only with the full symbiotic message.


Guthrie, C. & Weiner, M. (1966). Subliminal perception or perception of partial cues with pictorial stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3 (6), pp 619-628. ISSN: 0022-3514.


Guttman, G., Ganglberger, J. (1967). Conditioned verbal reactions triggered by subliminal thalamic stimulation. University of Vienna, Psychologisches Inst., Austria. Zeitschrift fur Experimentelle und Angewandte Psychologie, 14 (3), pp 542-544. ISSN: 0044-2712, Language: GERMAN.

Giselher Guttman and Josef Ganglberger examined the ability of thalamic stimulations to evoke verbal CRS.

During neurosurgery, the patient was asked to recite the numbers 1 to 9 in any order.
A number pair was selected and a thalamic stimulus given whenever the 1st number of the pair was spoken.

In the test phase thalamic stimuli were given only after numbers that differed from the preferred numbers.

It was found that the occurrence of the 2nd number was given significantly more often after thalamic stimulation.


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The Power of the Subconscious Mind and Positive Thoughts or Self Talk

The InnerTalk Subliminal Technology

Report: The Truth About Subliminal Programs
(PDF Download)

Peripheral Learning Reference Guide

The Subliminal Challenge

Grants for Research