NLP, Learning Difficulties, Eye Movements – What’s the Connection?

Filed Under (UnLearning Difficulties With NLP) on 05-06-2011

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Several people with learning difficulties who I worked with clearly confirmed that there definitely is a connection.   So let’s explore it.

Most people with learning difficulties are very ungrounded and distractible.  This distractibility is exactly where the connection between eye movements and learning difficulties lies.  Have you ever asked a person with, for example, trouble with reading comprehension how s/he saw a page of text in his/her imagination?  What did the text do?  Did it move?  In what way?  Did this person see only one screen in their mind’s eye, or did s/he see several screens – with different action on each screen?  And when you asked this person to see the page of text in front of him/her, did s/he see it or did s/he try to hear or feel it first?  Or did s/he try to do the seeing, hearing, and feeling at once – and then blanked out with confusion and overwhelm?

Our eye movements, pictured here, are unconscious and we all display them when processing information in different sensory channels.  The next time you think of observing the eyes of someone you’re having a conversation with, you’ll clearly see how their eyes move

  • up to one side [doesn’t matter which side] when the person is describing something that s/he remembers or is creating visually,
  • straight ahead or what looks like “through you” with “soft” eyes when the person is defocused, daydreaming, pausing in the speech to access the next image in their mind’s eye, or searching for more visual representation of what s/he’s talking about
  • midline to one side when the person is describing something that s/he remembers or is creating as sounds
  • down to one side when the person is describing something that s/he remembers or is creating as feelings, and
  • down to the other side when the person is having an internal dialogue [discussion / chat / talk ] with him/herself about what s/he is – or you are – speaking about.

The problem will arise when the brain of a person, perhaps as the unconscious result of past unpleasant experiences, gets confused under stress and bunches all the sensory processing together into one place, most commonly somewhere near the centre of their visual field and quite close to the face which will then look like this:

In this case the person won’t even know whether s/he is seeing, hearing, or feeling the page of text from our earlier example.  So there’s little wonder that reading comprehension, which requires that we visualise [that is visualise – not hear or feel, let alone all three at once!] the content of what we’re reading in order to remember it, will be impossible.

The solution here will be to separate all the sensory processing and put each type of processing to where it belongs as shown in image 1 above.

Working with eye movements brings the additional benefit of helping people [with or without learning difficulties] improve their memory.  If you want to remember a PIN number, visualize its digits and put the image up into the side where you normally look to retrieve something you remember visually, such as a face, place, or object.  Of course, knowing which side it is will require knowing thyself, which requires observation.  For observation ask people close to you to observe your eye movements over a few weeks while in conversations with them.  Once they confirm which side your eyes move to every time you remember a sight,  sound, feeling, or have a chat with your internal voice, you’ll be able to consciously employ your eye movements to improve your memory and processing of information in general.

Contact me for more help on how NLP and eye movements speed up unlearning difficulties.

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