Secure Base Priming Research Project


The Secure Base Priming Research Project ( is an independent research study looking at the effects, over time, of repeated secure base priming on a person’s mood, current sense of felt-security, and attachment style. Secure base priming is either the subliminal or supraliminal presentation of words or images that represent attachment security, or the names of real-life security providing attachment figures. It can also consist of guided imagery that involves the recollection of real or imagined experiences of feeling safe, secure, loved or emotionally helped in a close relationship.

These priming procedures have been shown to increase mood, increase openness to new information/experiences, decrease negative stereotyping, reduce aggression and increase compassion and altruism. Additionally, secure base priming has been shown to reduce psychiatric symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Most research have focused on a single administration of primes followed by an assessment/task. Results consistently demonstrate a temporary effect. We are looking at whether using these exercises on a daily basis will result in a more sustained effect. We are also interested in knowing whether there is a decay in effect once the priming has stopped. We are hypothesizing that these exercises can be used to augment the security-enhancing effects of psychotherapy.

Currently we are soliciting subjects through the Internet (Twitter, LinkedIn) and networking with colleagues. Participation requires that participants spend less than 5 minutes a day to complete the exercises for ten days. Days 1, 9 and 10 may take a bit longer since the participants must also complete three assessment questionnaires.

We are currently exploring the idea of conducting a similar study with perpetrators of domestic violence who are in court-mandated treatment.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to respond here or contact me directly ( at any time.

Daniel Sonkin, Ph.D.
Mayté Frias, Ph.D.