NLP is famous for many techniques and one of those is the Eye Accessing Cues which people display during conversations, or when they are visibly concentrating. These can be used to determine something about the type of thing they are processing in their mind but obviously not the actual specifics. It is not possible of course to read minds like a book but clues can be obtained about whether they are recalling a memory or constructing an idea, remembering a sound or imagining what something might sound like. It is also possible to discover if they are connecting to feelings about an event or having an inner dialogue.
These clues occur whenever we are consciously connecting to any of our experiences of the five senses, sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. During these times, as we begin to process these various sensory perceptions, our eyes are drawn to one of seven basic positions and often it is only for a fleeting moment.
To further complicate these observations we may well visit more than one eye position at a time.
Maybe other people have recognised these clues over the past centuries, I don’t know for sure, but it is only since the endeavours of three men during the later part of the 1970′s, Richard Bandler, John Grinder and Robert Dilts that we now have a good understanding of the connection between the mind and body. The very thoughts that we have do affect our bodies in some way.
As a result of their combined studies, I can outline for you how to interpret what those various eyes positions probably mean, at least in terms of the category of what a person is processing in that moment. It has to be said that this is still not a totally exact science in every single case, but generally, it pretty much does apply to most people who are right-handed. For some left-handed folk however the opposite applies in relation to 2 or maybe 4 out of the 6 positions.
The only way to be really certain is to observe the person in question in relation to their responses to things you know for certain what sort of things they may be thinking about. In order to calibrate a person’s responses, you could for example, ask them to describe something they know and that would give you a visual recall eye signal. Next ask them to imagine something obviously strange like a pink lawn for instance and that would give you their visually constructed eye signal.
Now for the eye signal positions and their interpretations. As you look directly into people’s faces we break it into seven positions. One is looking straight ahead and that is simply visualizing what is in front of them. Then we break it into three more positions either side, top, middle and bottom with either a left or right focus for each position. See illustrated version of NLP Eye Accessing Cues
To make it sense of the examples I have given, when I talk of middle left I mean from the point of view of you facing someone, therefore making it your left and their right.
Top left as you face the person is visually constructed and top right their left is visual memories being recalled.
Middle and to the left as you face the person is sound being constructed and middle right their left is remembering sound.
Bottom left is when they are connecting to feelings, meaning emotion, touch or sensations and bottom right is engaged when having an internal dialogue.
Quick summary of meanings
Visually Remembered – Bringing to mind images from actual past experiences.
Visually Constructed – Seeing images of things never seen before or seeing things in a different way.
Auditory Remembered – Remembering sounds as they were heard before.
Auditory Constructed – Imagining hearing sounds you’ve not heard before or hearing familiar sounds but in a different way.
Kinesthetic – Experiencing emotions and connecting to known physical sensations and touched items.
Internal dialogue – Sometimes referred to as the voice in our head or when we talk things through in our mind.
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