Bulletin of the Psychoanalytic Research Society, Volume III, Number 1, Spring, 1994

Research Notes: The Subliminal Psychodynamic Activation Method

The subliminal psychodynamic activation (SPA) method, developed and refined by Lloyd Silverman and his colleagues during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, has generated a wealth of valuable data regarding psychoanalytic theory and therapy. SPA procedures have been used to examine a number of psychoanalytic issues, including the psychodynamics of symptom formation and personality development. Listed below are a selection of recent articles in this area. Although SPA research is not without controversy, these papers confirm that SPA studies continue to produce some very interesting and important findings.

Balay, J., & Shevrin, H. (1988). The subliminal psychodynamic activation method: A critical review. American Psychologist, 43, 161-174.

Bornstein, R. F. (1990). Critical importance of stimulus unawareness for the production of subliminal psycho dynamic activation effects: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 46, 201-210.

Bornstein, R. F. (1992). Critical importance of stimulus unawareness for the production of subliminal psycho dynamic activation effects: An attributional model. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 180, 69-76.

Cook, H. (1985). Effects of subliminal symbiotic gratification and the magic of believing on achievement. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 2, 365-372.

Dauber, R. (1984). Subliminal psychodynamic activation in depression: on the role of autonomy issues in depressed college women. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 9-16.

Figueroa, M. D. (1989). Comments on the subliminal psychodynamic activation method: A response to Balay and Shevrin. American Psychologist, 44, 1421 1422.

Frauman, D. C., Lynn, S. J., Hardaway, R., & Molteni, A. (1984). Effects of subliminal symbiotic activation on hypnotic rapport and susceptibility. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 481-483.

Fudin, R., & Benjamin, C. (1991). Review of auditory subliminal psychodynamic activation experiments. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 73, 1115-1136.

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

Linehan, E., & O'Toole, J. (1982). The effect of subliminal stimulation of symbiotic fantasy on college students' self-disclosure in group counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 29, 151-157.

Masling, J. M., Bornstein, R. F., Poynton, F. G., Reed, S. D., & Katkin, E. S. (1991). Perception without awareness and electrodermal responding: A strong test of subliminal psychodynamic activation effects. Journal of Mind and Behavior, 12, 33-48.

Mendelson, E. M., & Silverman, L. H. (1982). Effects of stimulating psychodynamically relevant unconscious fantasies on schizophrenic pathology. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 8, 532-547.

Patton, C. J. (1992). Fear of abandonment and binge eating: A subliminal psychodynamic activation investigation. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 180, 484-490.

Silverman, L. H. (1987). Imagery as an aid to working through unconscious conflicts: A preliminary report. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 4, 45-64.

Silverman, L. H., & Weinberger, J. (1985). Mommy and I are one: Implications for psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 40, 1296-1308.

Talbot, N. L., Duberstein, P. R., & Scott, P. (1991). Subliminal psychodynamic activation, food consumption and self confidence. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47, 813-823.

Weinberger, J. (1992). Validating and demystifying subliminal psychodynamic activation. In R. F. Bornstein & T. S. Pittman (Eds.), Perception without awareness: Cognitive. clinical and social perspectives (pp. 170 188). NY: Guilford Press.

Weinberger, J., & Hardaway, R. (1990). Separating science from myth in subliminal psychodynamic activation. Clinical Psychology Review, 10, 727-756.


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