Hill E L: An empirical test of the Neurolinguistic Programming concept of anchoring.
Dissertation Abstracts International 44(7), 2246-B Washington State University (Pub = AAC8325468): 126, 1983.
Abstract: Recently an intuitively appealing new model of human behavior called Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) was developed. The model refers to each sense as a representational system and claims that people tend to develop preferences for processing information primarily through one or another representational system. These preferences are labeled as primary representational system (PRS). According to NLP, people will understand best, and be most sensitive to, information that is presented to them in the same modality as their PRS. Also, according to NLP, whenever two events occur in close temporal sequence, they will be perceived to be associated and the association formed will occur in one trial. The association is called an anchor relationship and each event is referred to as an anchor. After the relationship is formed, each time one of the anchors occurs the other will be automatically evoked. The NLP model also asserts that anchor relationships are best formed, and learning is best achieved, when anchors correspond to a person's PRS. To empirically test these assertions, the present study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, PRS assessment instruments were developed and evaluated for use in selecting subjects for phase two. In the second phase, equal numbers of subjects with auditory and visual PRSs were identified and asked to participate in a free recall memory paradigm. The memory paradigm utilized anchor cues that were presented with words during word list presentation and without words during recall. The anchor cues were either matched or mis-matched to subjects' PRS. It was predicted that recall performance would be better when anchors were PRS-matched than when they were PRS- mismatched. The results did not support the prediction. No interaction effects were found for PRS, indicating that matching anchors to subjects' PRSs had no effect on recall. Possible reasons for the lack of statistical support for the predictions were that (1) the NLP model is not valid and (2) that due to poor PRS assessment instruments, anchor cues were never correctly PRS-matched. It was concluded that reliable and valid PRS assessment methods must be developed before conducting further investigation on NLP assertions.