Progressive Awareness Research

Improving Lives One Person at a Time since 1984.

Subliminal Literature: Bibliography and Review


Peripheral Desk Reference H

Habeck, B.K. (1984). The effect of gender, hemispheric preference, semanticity and lateralization upon sensitivity to auditory subliminal stimuli on children. Marquette University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 45 (2-A), pp 460-461. ISSN: 0419-4209.

Beverly Habeck performed this study in order to determine to what extent, if any, the variables gender, hemispheric preference, semanticity, message lateralization and/or their interactions influenced children's susceptibility to auditory subliminal stimuli as measured by subjects rating their internal and external affective environments.

Children, from 8- to 12-years-old, were screened for dexterity, unilateral hemispheric preference and functional auditory threshold.

Stimuli were presented at 5dB below that threshold through headphones.
Verbal and nonverbal positive subliminal stimuli were used.

Following subliminal stimulation, the subjects were asked to look at a projected slide of a blurred neutral face.

The subjects rated the face on 5 adjective continua and then rated their personal affect, using the same 5 scales.

The results show that;

1) the subjects with left hemisphere preference were significantly more sensitive to subliminal messages than the subjects preferring right hemisphere cognition,

2) the subjects processing messages unilaterally were significantly more susceptible to subliminal messages than subjects in the control group,

3) the subjects' personal affect was influenced at a significantly greater level than subjects' impressions of the neutral face.

4) significant differences emerged among the rating scales employed, with some scales being more sensitive than others to the subliminal effect.


Haberstroh, J. (1984). Can't ignore subliminal ad charges. Advertising Age, 55 (61), pp 3, 42, 44. ISSN: 0001-8899.

Jack Haberstroh discusses the work of Wilson Bryan Key.

Key believes that subliminal messages are widespread in advertising, and has written three successful books on subliminal persuasion, with the fourth nearing completion.

Advertising executives view Key as being paranoid, and obsessed with sex.

A survey of art directors of 100 advertising agencies, selected from the Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies, indicated that the majority of respondents disagreed that creative or account people added extra messages to their work.


Halpren, S. (1985) Sound Health, San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Steven Halpren asserts that unheard sounds and vibrations are as important as the ones which are perceived.


Hamilton, S.B. & Bornstein, P.H. (1979). Broad-spectrum behavioral approach to smoking cessation: Effects of social support and paraprofessional training on the maintenance of treatment effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 47, pp 598-600.


Hansen, J. R. (1988). The relationship of subliminally activated psychodynamic conflict to anorexic performance on a lexical decision task, State U New York, Buffalo, US.


Hansen, P. (1984). Subliminal perception. Paper presented to International Motivation Conference. Canberra, Australia.

Dr. Philip Hansen states that the subliminal domain is an essential, but often overlooked, partner in the process of integrating the wonders of the cosmos with our internal universe of perceptual ideation.

An example of the use of subliminals to positive effect, is in dealing with test anxiety.
Tests are a vital part of schooling, but test failure is not always the result of insufficient conscious knowledge. Often it's inadequacy of personal subjective state systems which supply the psychic resources to enable the objective state the preciseness tests require.
Subliminal techniques give us access to the support subsystems of the subjective states.


Hardaway, R.A. (1986). (Cited in Bower, N., 1986, p. 156) University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Richard Hardaway, in an unpublished statistical analysis of 68 studies using Silverman's "Mommy and I are one" subliminal message discovered a small, statistically significant difference in behavioral improvement for people exposed to the message.


Hardaway, R.A. (1987). Facts and fantasies in subliminal psychodynamic activation: a qualitative analysis. Dissertation Abstracts International, 47 (12-b, part 1), pp 5054.


Hardaway, R. A. (1990). "Subliminally activated symbiotic fantasies: Facts and artifacts." Psychological Bulletin 107(2): 177-195.

A review procedure correcting statistical artifacts using a meta-analysis method showed small but significant effects from the use of the symbiotic "Mommy" message.


Hardy, G.R. & Legge, D. (1968). Cross-modal induction of changes in sensory thresholds. University College, London, UK. Quarterly Journal of Experiment Psychology, 20 (1), pp 20 29.

Two experiments were performed to test the hypothesis that threshold changes induced by emotional stimulation are mediated centrally.

In the first experiment, the visual awareness threshold for neutral material was raised for the subjects by simultaneous auditory presentation of emotional words.
This result supported the hypothesis.

In the second experiment, a similar effect was obtained when the two modalities were reversed.

The results showed that subliminal stimulation through one modality with emotional material impairs detection performance in a different modality.

Lower signal detection sensitivity may be caused either by attenuation of incoming signals, or by an increase in the level of "noise" against which the signal is received.


Harrison, R.H. (1970). Effect of subliminal shock conditioning on recall. Boston University. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 75 (1), pp 19-29.

Robert Harrison presented words at chance recognition levels and paired them with either the abrupt initiation or cessation of shock conditioning procedures.

Experiment I showed that words associated with abrupt initiation of shock conditioning appeared later in free recall than words associated with cessation of shock conditioning.
Experiment II replicated the results of Experiment I when the subjects task during conditioning was irrelevant to recognizing words.

Experiment III, using 50 percent of the stimulus intensity of Experiments I and II, demonstrated residual differentiation in recall between the words actually presented and those whose presentation was simulated.

Results are interpreted as evidence for subliminal perception.


Hart, L. (1973). The effects of noxious subliminal stimuli on the modification of attitudes toward alcoholism: A pilot study. Boston City Hospital, MA. British Journal of Addiction, 68 (2), pp 87-90.


Hasher, L. & Zacks, R.T. (1979). Automatic and effortful processes in memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 108, pp 356-388.


Haspel, K.C. & Harris, R.S. (1982). Effect of tachistoscopic stimulation of subconscious oedipal wishes on competitive performance: A failure to replicate. Kent County Mental Health Center, Warwick, RI. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 91 (6), pp 437-443. ISSN: 0021-843X.

Katherine Haspel and Robert Harris studied the effects of subconscious oedipal wishes on competitive performance.
The research was designed to,

(a) replicate the study by L.H. Silverman et al (1978), who found that subjects' dart throwing performance improved after they viewed the subliminal stimulus "Beating dad is OK" and worsened after they viewed "Beating dad is wrong";

(b) to see if dart-throwing behavior is also affected by supraliminal oedipal stimulation; and

(c) to investigate the influence of priming (i.e., pre-experimental arousal of oedipal wishes) on the effect of tachistoscopic stimulation.

Silverman's results were not replicated despite close adherence to the methodology, nor were other significant effects found.


Hayden, B. & Silverstein, R. (1983). The effects of tachistoscopic oedipal stimulation on competitive dart throwing. Brown University. Psychological Research Bulletin, Lund University, 23 (1). ISSN: 0348-3673.

Brian Hayden and Robert Silverstein studied the effects of subliminal psychodynamic activation on competitive dart-throwing.

Pre- and post-test measures were taken of dart-throwing accuracy under various experimental conditions.

The experimental conditions consisted of tachistoscopic exposures (4 msec) of verbal and congruous pictorial stimuli.

In experiment 1, the subjects were exposed to the subliminal stimuli; "Beating Dad is okay"' "Beating Dad is wrong", "Mommy and I are one" and "People are walking."

In experiment 2, the subjects were exposed to the subliminal stimuli; "Beating Dad is OK", "Beating Dad is wrong", "Defeating Dad is OK" and "Defeating Dad is wrong."

In experiment 3, the subjects were exposed to the subliminal stimuli; "Winning Mom is ok", "Winning Mom is wrong", "Winning Dad is OK" and "Winning Dad is wrong."

In Experiments 1 and 2, stimuli that sanctioned the idea of beating father in competition enhanced dart-throwing accuracy, while stimuli that condemned this idea impaired accuracy.
Experiment III demonstrated that stimuli sanctioning the idea of winning mother enhanced performance, while stimuli condemning this idea impaired accuracy.


Hayden, M. (
1989). The effects of subliminal presentation of loss-related stimuli on the mood of individuals who have experienced early object loss, Fairleigh Dickinson U, NJ, US.


Hayes, K. C., R. D. Allatt, et al. (1992). "Reinforcement of subliminal flexion reflexes by transcranial magnetic stimulation of motor cortex in subjects with spinal cord injury." Electroencephalography & Clinical Neurophysiology: Electromyography & Motor Control 85(2): 102-109.

Determined low intensity electrical stimui could facilitate subliminal motor evoked potentials.


Heflin, S. S. (1991). The effect of selected subliminal suggestion upon the self-confidence of undergraduate students, East Texas State U, US.


Heidorn, R., Jr. (May 16, 1988). Jail tries subliminal, and disputed technique. The Philadelphia Inquirer, pp 1-B, 3-B.

This article describes a 6-month trial of subliminal tapes for reducing absenteeism among sheriff's officers and correctional officers.
The three themes used were promoting positive self-image, relieving stress and reducing absenteeism.


Heilbrun, K.S. (1980a). The effects of subliminally presented oedipal stimuli on competitive performance. University of Texas, Austin. Dissertation Abstracts International, 41 (4-B), p. 1506.

Kirk Heilbrun examined the effects of subliminally presented oedipal stimuli on competitive performance.


Heilbrun, K.S. (1980b). Silverman's subliminal psychodynamic activation: A failure to replicate. University of Texas, Austin. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 89 (4), pp 560-566. ISSN: 0021-843X.

Kirk Heilbrun tested Silverman's report that subliminally presented stimuli, designed to increase or decrease oedipal conflict, can affect competitive performance.

None of the experiments showed any difference between performance following exposure to subliminal oedipal conditions and performance following neutral baseline conditions.

The results should be also considered in light of the changes which were made over the course of these experiments that produced a bias in favor of replication.


Heilbrun, K.S. (1982). Reply to Silverman. Florida State University, Tallahassee. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 91 (2), pp 134-135. ISSN: 0021-843X.

Kirk Heilbrun replies to comments made by Silverman regarding the author's failure to replicate Silverman's work on subliminal symbiotic stimulation as an adjunct to systematic desensitization.


Henke, K., T. Landis, et al. (1993). "Subliminal perception of pictures in the right hemisphere." Consciousness & Cognition: an International Journal 2(3): 225-236.

Using a tacistoscope the researchers demonstrated that a picture can be perceived below the level of awareness, but only the right hemispher can perceive them and make use of the perception.


Henke, K., T. Landis, et al. (1994). "Subliminal perception of words and faces." International Journal of Neuroscience 75(3-4): 181-187.

This study showed that words presented subliminal to the left hemsiphere influenced decisions by men but not by women.


Henley, S.H. (1975). Cross modal effects of subliminal verbal stimuli. University College, London, UK. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 16 (1), pp 30-36.

Sue Henley conducted a cross model version of an experiment by C.J. Smith et al on the effects of subliminal auditory cue words upon judgements of a supraliminal visual stimulus.
To one ear she put supraliminal sounds or descriptions. To the other ear she provided, or didn't provide according to the experiment subliminal cues.

It was found that, when subliminal cues were provided, performance was improved. The results support the hypothesis that material in an unattended channel is fully analyzed for meaning and may be integrated with materials in an attended channel when it is relevant to the ongoing task.

The results therefore show that the use of subliminal communication can actually facilitate conventional, traditional learning.

The same results were also found when visual subliminal cues were used in place of the audio subliminal cues.

This provides support for the Poetzl phenomenon.


Henley, S.H. (1975). Responses to homophones as a function of cue words on the unattended channel. University College, London, UK. British Journal of Psychology, 67 (4), pp 559-567.

Sue Henley tested a prediction based on the model of attention advanced by Dixon (1971), that the responses to homophones presented to one ear, at supraliminal intensities, would be influenced by subliminal cue words presented to the other ear.

The results supported the hypothesis in terms of response latencies, but not in terms of verbal content.

It is suggested that these data make it possible to reconcile apparent discrepancies between the results of other studies of dichotic listening.


Henley, S.H. (1984). Unconscious perception revisited: A comment on Merikle's (1982) paper. University of London, University College, England. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 22 (2), pp 121-124. ISSN: 0090-5054.

Sue Henley states that, contrary to P.M. Merikle's implications, the case for unconscious perception does not stand or fall with evidence from the backward masking studies that are the focus of his criticisms.

Evidence that the brain can respond to stimulus material of which the recipient remains unaware is provided.

It is argued that, since the threshold-determining procedures employed in the backward masking studies were inappropriate, Merikle's particular criticism of these procedures are irrelevant.


Henley, S.H., & Dixon, N.F. (1974). Laterality differences in the effect of incidental stimuli upon evoked imagery. British Journal of Psychology, 65 (4), pp 529-536. ISSN: 0007-1269.


Henley, S.H. & Dixon, N.F. (1976). Preconscious processing in schizophrenics: An exploratory investigation. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 49 (2), pp 161-166. ISSN: 0007-1129.


Herrick, R.M. (1973). Increment thresholds for multiple identical flashes in the peripheral retina. U.S. Naval Air Development Center, Warminster, PA. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 63 (10), pp 1261-1265.

Robert Herrick performed this experiment to determine the light detection threshold for various numbers of subliminal flashes.

The results indicated that when the flash duration, t, equaled the interval, i, between successive flashes, the threshold luminance was described by the equation , I=a+(b/nt), where a and b are constants.

This equation is analogous to the Blondel-Rey Law.

When the interval was held constant at 30 msec, the total threshold energy, E, increased linearly with the number of flashes regardless of the duration of the identical flashes in the train.

As the interval between 2 successive subliminal flashes increased, E increased until it reached a value roughly equal to twice its initial value, and thereafter it remained constant


Hess, J. (1981). Subliminal suggestion during anesthesia to control postoperative complications. (Letter). AANA Journal, 49 (2), pp 209-210. ISSN: 0094-6354.

In this letter to AANA Journal, John Hess describes how subliminal suggestions can be used during Innovar -nitrous oxide anesthesia to control postoperative complications, most notably pain and nausea.

In his experiment, a tape containing postoperative suggestions were played to subjects while they were under Innovar -nitrous oxide anesthetic.

The subjects were then questioned a few days postoperatively for any recall experiences they had.

Upon questioning, some of the subjects made statements that were exactly the same as on the tape, except that they were in the subjective tense, while others imparted just the basic ideas.

When the experimental results were compared with previous anesthetic requirements for similar surgeries, the results were found to be favorable.

In conclusion Hess states that subliminal suggestions are of value in control of nausea and in the patient's acceptance of hospital procedures and routines.


Higgins, K. (1983). Marketers give quality image to generics to improve sales. Marketing News, 17 (23), p 4. ISSN: 0025-3790,

Kevin Higgins discusses the ways by which Oriove Enterprises, is fighting the problem of marketing generic drugs.

Generic drugs lack a quality image, and one approach suggested is designing the packages to form a subliminal attachment to the national brand with which it competes.


Higginson, G.D. (1926). The visual apprehension of movement under successive retinal excitations. American Journal of Psychology, 37, pp 76-77.

In this article, Glenn Higginson describes the early use of the Dodge tachistoscope in the psychology laboratory.


Hill, A. (1993). "Non-conscious processes and semantic image profiling." Journal of the Market Research Society 35(4): 315-323

Discusses the use of subliminal perception in advertising.


Hines, K.S. (1978). Subliminal psychodynamic activation of oral dependency conflicts in a group of hospitalized male alcoholics. Memphis State University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 38 (11-B), p. 4123.


Hobbs, S.R. (1984). The effects of subliminal stimulation of oedipal and symbiotic gratification fantasies on racial attitudes. New York University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 45 (3 B), p. 1018. ISSN: 0419-4209.

The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the unconscious oedipal fantasy on racial prejudice, and also to explore the influence of the symbiotic gratification fantasy on racial attitudes.

The subliminal psychodynamic activation method was used to activate fantasies sanctioning oedipal feelings ("Winning Mom is OK" for males, and "Winning Dad is OK" for females) and a fantasy of symbiotic-like gratification ("Mommy and I are one").

Subjects in the experimental groups were compared to the to those receiving a neutral control stimulus ("People are walking).

A replication of a study linking the unconscious symbiotic fantasy and learning was built into this research as an independent way of evaluating if the stimulus was making an impact.
The results of this study did not support the hypothesis that sanctioning oedipal fantasies would reduce racist attitudes. Significant results were, however, attained in the opposite direction hypothesized.

Males in the oedipal group were significantly more prejudiced post-stimulation than those in the symbiotic and control groups. The female groups did not differ significantly.
In keeping with earlier studies, the activation of the symbiotic fantasy was effective in improving final examination grades.

Males in the symbiotic and oedipal groups did significantly better than the controls, but did not significantly differ from each other. Results for females were not significant.
These findings suggest that unconscious fantasies may influence racial attitudes, but that the nature of the fantasies, and the anxieties and conflicts which they are presumed to stimulate, need further study.

The difference in results for males and females raise several questions about both psychodynamic and social understanding of the differences in the way men and women develop and function in our society.


Hodorowski, L. (1986). The symbiotic fantasy as a therapeutic agent: An experimental comparison of the effects of four symbiotic contexts on manifest pathology in differentiated schizophrenics. New York University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 46 (8-B), p. 2810. ISSN: 0419-4209.

Lenore Hodorowski conducted this experiment to determine the efficacy of pictorial merging contexts for subliminal stimulation of symbiotic fantasies as a therapeutic modality for differentiated schizophrenics.


Hoffman, J.S. (1986) Review of the subliminal psychodynamic activation method. Doctor of Psychology Research Paper, Biola University, California.

Janice Hoffman performed this study in order to determine the validity of the criticisms regarding the use of subliminal psychodynamic activation (SPA), and also to ascertain the potential usefulness of SPA method for testing theoretical constructs such as intrapsychic conflict and wishes for merger.

It was found that methodological weaknesses do exist in the assessment of changes in psychopathological symptomatology due to the use of subliminal stimuli, and the specific stimuli used to effect these changes.

In studies with both schizophrenic and nonschizophrenic populations, no validity data were reported in the literature for any of the measures used.
However, in spite of the limitations in interpreting the results of SPA studies, the SPA method has been shown to be effective in producing specific results in a variety of diagnostic groups.

This method has also given further evidence of the unconscious nature of intrapsychic processes.

In this way the SPA method has at least given evidence that the pursuit of testing psychoanalytic constructs is a worthwhile and plausible effort with important implications for both the theory and treatment of psychopathological symptomatology.


Hollingworth, M. (1985, January 30). Subliminal tapes halve thefts in chain store. Retail World, p 14.

Hollingworth reported two research studies where subliminal messages reduced theft considerably.

In the first study an Australian supermarket reduced shrinkage by more that 50 percent.
In the second study, a nine-month test in several U.S. stores, shrinkage was reduced by 37 percent.


Holmes, D. A. (1991). Effects of subliminal psychodynamic activation, U Oklahoma, US.


Holtzman, D. (1975). Recall and importations on a word test primed by a subliminal stimulus. Wayne State University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 36 (5-B), p. 2473.

Deanna Holtzman designed this study in order to partially replicate, validate and explore the stimulus conditions under which the phenomena reported by Spence and Gordon (1966) occur.

Under particular investigation was the effects of an oral priming subliminal stimulus on recall of a word list, taking into account a personality variable (orality) and a manipulated experimental condition of drive arousal (accepted-rejected).

The hypothesis put forward was that High Oral Rejected subjects who were subliminally stimulated, would recall and import more regressive words.

Each subjects was given a WAIS Digit-Symbol subtest, and made to feel either accepted or rejected on the basis of his performance.

The subjects were then asked to learn one of three lists of words;

1) relating to the infantile nursing situation (primitive),

2) relating to a more socialized eating situation (conceptual), and

3) a neutral subset.

The subjects were further divided into;

1) those who received a subliminal primer (milk),

2) those who received a supraliminal primer (milk), and

3) those who received a blank slide.

High and low oral subjects were determined by the responses to a questionnaire, which showed whether the subjects used food as an affection substitute under conditions of rejection or stress.

The results indicated that the high oral subjects do not import nor remember significantly more oral regressive words.

There was however a significant interaction between the subliminal variable and the kinds of words recalled from the list, in that the subjects who received subliminal stimulation recalled more primitive than conceptual words.


Hovsepian, W. & Quatman, G. (1978). Effects of subliminal stimulation of masculinity femininity ratings of a male model. Xavier University, OH. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 46, (1), pp 155-161. ISSN: 0031-5125.

William Hovsepian and Gerald Quatman tested the effects of subliminal stimulation on masculinity-femininity ratings of a male model.

The subjects were divided into 4 groups and individually shown a slide of a male model with one of four subliminal stimuli;

1) group one group received no subliminal stimulation,

2) group 2 received a subliminal flash of white light across the image of the model,

3) group 3 was presented with the message "masculine", and

4) group 4 was presented with the subliminal message "feminine."

The subjects were asked to rate the model on a 6-point scale.

The results gave no significant difference in ratings among the groups, which indicated that subliminal stimulation did not influence masculinity-femininity value-norm-anchor judgments.
There were no significant differences in the reported perception of additional stimuli or the tendency to be relaxed among the 4 groups.

However, subjects who received the "masculine" message and reported that they were more relaxed did tend to rate the model higher in masculinity.


Hull, E.I. (1976). Ego states characteristics of enhanced utilization of subliminal registrations. University of Chicago. Dissertation Abstracts International, 37 (4-B), pp 1903-1904.


Hutchison, M.
(1986). Megabrain. Ballantine Books, New York.

Michael Hutchison discusses new tools and techniques for brain growth and mind expansion.


Hudesman, J., W. Page, et al. (1992). "Use of subliminal stimulation to enhance learning mathematics." Perceptual & Motor Skills 74(3, Pt 2): Spec Issue 1219-1224.

Subjects who had failed the mathematics portion of university skills assessment test were exposed to the merging message. Subjects in the experimental group improved while no improvement was found in the control group.


Hudesman, J. and W. Page (1993). "Reply to Fudin's (1993-sub(B)) comments on Hudesman and Page's response to Fudin's (1993-sub(A)) comments on Hudesman, Page, and Rautiainen's subliminal psychodynamic activation experiment." Perceptual & Motor Skills 76(3, Pt 2): 1097 1098.


Hudesman, J. and W. Page (1993). "Reply to Fudin's comments on Hudesman, Page, and Rautianen's experiment on the use of subliminal psychodynamic activation to enhance mathematics learning." Perceptual & Motor Skills 76(3, Pt 1): 733-734.


Hylton, R.L. (1979). A comparison of the effects of aural arousal on the verbal learning of normal and learning disabled elementary school pupils. Doctoral dissertation, St. John's University, NY. Dissertation Abstracts International, 40 (3-B), p. 1393.

Robert Hylton investigated the effects of graduated levels of accessory auditory stimulation upon the verbal learning proficiency in normal and learning disabled children.

The subjects were divided into normal, visual and auditory learning disabled, and were each tested for his/her auditory threshold level.

The subjects were then given the task of learning word-number paired associates under a no-noise condition and six levels of accessory stimulation (white nose). The 6 levels included 3 subliminal and 3 supraliminal levels.

The three groups were subdivided into nine subgroups and exposed to accessory stimulation while;

a) learning the material (input),

b) at recall (output), and

c) at both the input and output.

From the results it was found that;

1) learning was enhanced by subliminal stimulation,

2) there was no differential facilitation among the three groups,

3) presentation of accessory auditory stimulation at both the input and output levels combined did not result in better performance at either the input or output levels, and

4) there was no variation in performance between males and females.

In conclusion, the results showed that subliminal arousal facilitated short-term memory in paired associate learning in elementary pupils in general.


The Controversy in the Differences of Audio Subliminal Technology

Subliminal Messages, Subliminal Audio, Subliminal Advertising and How it Works

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