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J Clin Psychol. 1991 Nov;47(6):813-23.

Subliminal psychodynamic activation, food consumption, and self-confidence.

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  • 1University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.


The subliminal psychodynamic activation (SPA) method was used to study the effects of a message related to loss and separation on the behavior of anaclitic and control subjects in a sample of male college students (N = 148). In the subliminal condition (4 ms exposure time), subjects shown the experimental message "Mommy is Leaving Me" ate significantly fewer crackers than those exposed to the neutral message "Mona is Loaning It" (p = .04). Subjects subliminally exposed to the experimental message reported less confidence in their interpersonal attractiveness than those subliminally shown the neutral stimulus (p = .05). These findings, which support the hypothesis that semantic analyses are performed unconsciously, are discussed in the context of recent research on both the SPA paradigm and the anaclitic personality.

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