Carbonell D A: Representational systems: an empirical approach to Neurolinguistic Programming.
Dissertation Abstracts International 46(8), 2798-B DePaul University (Pub = AAC8523962): 144, 1985.
Abstract: This study tested the efficacy of a Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) technique which is intended to enhance rapport in interviewing and counseling relationships. NLP Theory states that right-handed people have an innate preference for processing and storing information in one of three sensory modes: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and that a subject's preferred mode, or Preferred Representational System (PRS), can be identified by monitoring and decoding the subject's eye movements during an interview. Rapport is predicted to be enhanced when an interviewer employs perceptual predicates which match the subject's PRS. Previous tests of this theory have yielded mixed results. This appears attributable to the serious methodological shortcomings of these studies and a certain lack of precision in NLP theory. This study was conducted in an effort to obtain results untainted by prior methodological shortcomings. Numerous improvements over previous experiments were incorporated into the design; chief among these were the use of videotaped interviews and trained raters to improve the accuracy of PRS identification, and the removal of the interviewer from the subject's view. The experiment was conducted in two sessions. Right- handed undergraduate volunteers participated in an initial interview during which their eye movements were videotaped and subsequently rated by independent raters to establish a PRS. Subjects then participated in a second, fully scripted interview with one of two female graduate students, during which the interviewer either matched or mismatched her perceptual predicates with the subject's PRS. Subjects then rated the interviewer on the Traux-Carkhoff empathy scale and the three subscales of the Counselor Rating Form. Hypotheses were established which predicted that subjects in the matched condition would rate the interviewers more favorably on the dependent measures than would subjects in the mismatched condition. Hypotheses were also established which predicted the consistency of eye movements with NLP predictions. The results indicated an absence of support for any of the seven hypotheses. Future research may more profitably be conducted as therapy outcome research to determine if other aspects of the NLP model, as presently applied, do achieve the desired results through other means.