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Ellman, S. (2005). Psychoanalysis and Research: Subliminal Explorations of Perception, Dreams, and Fantasies: The Pioneering Contributions of Charles Fisher. Edited by Howard Shevrin. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 2003, 197 pp., $49.95.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 53(2):639-643.
    

(2005). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 53(2):639-643

Psychoanalysis and Research: Subliminal Explorations of Perception, Dreams, and Fantasies: The Pioneering Contributions of Charles Fisher. Edited by Howard Shevrin. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 2003, 197 pp., $49.95.

Review by:
Steven Ellman

Subliminal Explorations of Perception Dreams, and Fantasies details Charles Fisher's seminal contributions while serving as wonderful reminder of the intellectual ferment of the late 1940s on to the 1970s. Since understanding this era is important in contextualizing Fisher's contributions, let me spend a moment describing a major figure of that era. Fisher was a fellow traveler to a group of psychoanalysts who were students and colleagues of David Rapaport. The group included Merton Gill, George Klein, Roy Schafer, and Robert Holt, to name but a few. Rapaport's genius, largely unappreciated today, stimulated research in such diverse areas as states of consciousness and learning research (1967). He attempted to show that a psychoanalytic model of learning could make predictions and explain phenomena that eluded traditional learning theories. Unfortunately, contemporary analysts have somehow misplaced his empirical contributions. His students, however, became strongly involved in subliminal research and the study of states of consciousness, and developed new areas of inquiry, such as research in cognitive styles. Rapaport, of course, is remembered for his pioneering attempts to systematize Freudian theory. His theoretical formulations have been somewhat discounted since critics often confuse his psychoanalytic language (unfortunately replete with allusions to psychic energy) with his elegant conceptualizations. Charles Fisher's research in subliminal research might have suffered a similar fate, but fortunately Howard Shevrin, the editor of this volume, has brought together Fisher's contributions in this area. Shevrin's introduction demonstrates how Fisher presages a good deal of the current research being done by cognitive psychologists.

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