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NLP Meta Programs – Personality and Sensory Systems

This article is part of Applied Psychology, specifically in the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) on the subject of Meta programs of perception and representation. It will be a first step to present the different sensory systems and then the different types of personalities that result.NLP Meta Programs and Personality

Meta Programs: A Brain Software to Better Understand Each Other

Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP has identified an important filter of reality – the Meta program – whose knowledge helps to understand why we are eliminating some aspects of our experience and why we are focusing on others. Why, for example, there are people who look at a half-filled glass and say that it is already half-empty while others are more centered on the remaining half. The simple question of attitude, will you say? Some are more positive, and more optimistic, while others are more negative, pessimistic, and realistic?

For NLP, we should rather look for the explanation in what it calls the Metaprograms, sort of software of the brain, which process information, classify and determine what will hold our attention and what we will eliminate, being given too many stimulations that arrive at the same time to our senses. We will present three of them that particularly affect your personal way of learning, evaluating your work, and motivating you.

Answering simple questions may reveal important keys to help you get to know yourself better, understand coworkers and family members, and communicate more effectively with them. Above all, you will better understand why the behavior of individuals in the same situation can be so different.

A Meta program is a mental predisposition to act and react in a specific way. A Metamodel is a characteristic behavior of a mental predisposition, that is, a Meta program.

Indeed, a man captures information from the outside world through his five senses.

Are you visual, auditory, or kinesthetic? These are 3 different ways of seeing the world that determine three ways of communicating.

Has it ever happened to you, at work or elsewhere, to tell you how others perceived you, to know the image you were projecting? Were not you then surprised at the difference that could exist between the idea that you have of yourself and that which others have of you, surprised even to notice the sometimes contradictory perceptions about you? Perhaps you have already had the opportunity to discuss with a co-worker a person or situation and to check how different your views were while being convinced that you were right and that others were wrong?

Since the time that I am interested in psychology and especially in communication, I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of perception. Fascinated to see how much the same situation, lived by the same group of people and could be perceived so differently. Also, fascinated to see that, people are sometimes ready to fight to make others admit their way of looking at things, the only good thing in their eyes. How many conflicts in the workplace and elsewhere are rooted in these different ways of perceiving reality?

This theory is evoked by Neuro-Linguistic Programming, saying that the world in which we live is perceived differently by each person. Indeed, each of us uses different meanings, the more in relation to our personality.

This is a curious point of view that is worth taking into account in order to know us a little better. It is possible that you use one or two senses, much more than the other three.

It is also interesting to know that this point of view is related to our cerebral predominance, that is to say, that some people use the left side much more than the right side, and vice versa. People using the left-hand side, for example, are more bent on logic and have an obsession with order.

On the other hand, if you use a lot more of the right part then you will be more creative, flexible, and innovative.

Neuro-Linguistic psychology deals with knowing which areas of the brain we use the most in order to know how we interpret the world around us.

Do you want to know what your natural tendency is? Then read this article to find out if you are a visual, kinesthetic, or auditory person.

Certainly, you are interested in knowing your type of predominance. But above all, it would be wise to answer this fundamental question related to our article: What are the different sensory systems?

I – The Different Sensory Systems

We have 5 senses through which man captures information from the outside world:

– The Visual sense (V): the sight (the eye, to see)

– The Auditory sense (A): hearing (ears, to hear)

– The Kinesthetic sense (K): the touch (the skin/the body, to touch)

– The Olfactory sense (O): the sense of smell (nose, to smell)

– The Gustative sense (G): taste (tongue/mouth, to taste).

These 5 senses constitute the V.A.K.O.G.


By convention, the Olfactory (O) and the taste (G) are grouped in the Kinesthetic and constitute the practical sense. Thus K.O.G. = K. So V.A.K.O.G. = V.A.K.

From this fact, we symbolize these different senses as grouped by the following acronyms:

• Ve (Visual external): the images we see

• Ae (Auditory external): the sounds we hear

• Ke (Kinesthetic external): all the practical sensations we have by touch, smell, and taste.

•Vi (Visual internal): the images that we form in our mind.

•Ai (Auditive internal): everything we say

• Ki (Kinesthetic internal): the sensations we experience in ourselves.

From these acronyms, we find two forms of sensory systems namely the internal VAK and the external VAK.

*** The External VAK (Ve, Ae, Ke) represents all the information that comes to us from the outside world.

*** The Internal VAK (Vi, Ai, Ki) represents those inside us.

And depending on whether this information is positive or negative, these symbols will be followed by the sign “+” or the sign “-”

Any information to arrive at a person’s brain can take three different paths: they are called communication channels. These communication channels are constituted by the external VAK (Ve, Ae, Ke). These 3 channels are present in every individual, but during learning, most of us favor one of these three ways. Thus is it found:

• People with predominantly visual

• People with predominantly hearing

• Predominantly kinesthetic people

Note :

One way to detect the sensory dominance of a person is to listen to him or her speak, paying particular attention to words. Language reflects thought. The words chosen by the interlocutor is a reflection of the internal processes he uses.

By listening to predicates (verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) we can know which system a person uses at a given time.

But attention must also be focused on the individual’s breathing, body language, posture, speech, and eye movements.

Thus, to summarize, we emphasize that attentive listening makes it possible to know if the person is predominantly visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.

II – People with Predominantly Visual (PPV)

Primarily visual people understand and assimilate the need to create mental images. They proceed with analogies, and comparisons, by metaphors. They feel more comfortable with diagrams, drawings, sketches, and maps.

So to understand predominantly visual people prefer to go from example to rule.

• Predicates and Voice Rate

The most common words and phrases used by people who are predominantly visual are those who refer to sight.

Some examples: View, Illustrate, Perspective, Image, Clear, Scene, Fit, Visualize, Envision, Illuminate, Horizon, Point of view, Accurate, Blur, Flash, Bright, Misty, Contrast …

When the predominantly visual person speaks, his voice is high, with a very fast flow, and his speech is jerky.

• the Posture and the Gestures

When she speaks, the predominantly visual person has a somewhat stiff posture. His gestures are directed upwards and his breathing is superficial fast.

• Eye Movements

Eye movements are different depending on whether the individual has to build, that is to say, assimilate what he sees, or must remember something already recorded.

Thus, depending on the case, we will distinguish:

– The Visual constructs (Vc): In such a situation, the gaze is directed to the top left. This orientation means that the person is visualizing something new, making or analyzing a detail.

– The Visual memorized (VM): In such a situation, the gaze is directed to the upper right. The person visualizes memories and finds an image in his mind.

In summary: The Visual People

Are you one of those who has to read or study in absolute silence? This is something very common in visual people who need silence to concentrate.

It is also possible that when driving while listening to music, you need to turn off the radio if you start looking for a particular street or place to stay focused.

They are usually very energetic and observant people. They have a sense of detail and let little thing that is attractive to the appearance. It is easier for them to memorize pictures. These people usually like parks or forests to relax.

III – People with Predominantly Auditory (PPA)

The auditory or the predominantly auditory person is the individual who retains hearing. For him, words are enough for him to understand the reality we want him to understand. Thus, he transforms visual and kinesthetic messages into words.

He first learns the rule and then the example. He asks questions and likes to memorize.

He learns by talking aloud or talking to himself. The auditory is logical, deductive, and analytical. He is comfortable with what is abstract. Its weak point is generally all that is in the field of the image.

• Predicates and Voice Rate

The most common words and expressions used by people who are predominantly aural are those that relate to a hearing. Thus the auditory predicates are:

Hearing, Speaking, Saying, Listening, Questioning, Wondering, Dialogue, Discussing, Listening, Recording, Misunderstanding, Noise, Rhythm, Melodious, Echo.

When the auditory speaks, the flow of his voice is average and there are changes in tones frequented. Moreover, it marks pauses of varying duration between sentences and arguments.

• the Posture and the Gestures

When speaking, the predominantly auditory person has a relaxed posture. On the other hand, when talking to him, his favorite listening position is to reach out to his interlocutor.

• Eye Movements

Here as in the visual case, depending on whether the individual is trying to build or memorize, we distinguish:

– The Auditory construct (Ac): When the person creates sounds to understand the reality around him, the gaze is oriented horizontally to the left.

– The Auditory memorized (Am): When the person remembers, the gaze is oriented horizontally to the right.

In Summary: Hearing People

Are you one of those people who often think aloud? You can surprise many people with this curious mania, but in reality, you are a hearing person.

You then tend to verbalize things a lot, even talking to yourself. It is also quite common that, if you are an auditory person, you like to listen to others, because it is thanks to this means that you will memorize things: by listening to them aloud and almost never in writing.

They are also very expressive people with a strong sense of communication, they know how to express themselves and they like to listen to others. Nothing escapes them; they are able to follow a conversation at the same time as they listen to music.

They can do many things at once, unlike visual people who sometimes have trouble concentrating if they are stimulated by several elements at once.

IV – Predominantly Kinesthetic People (PPK)

Predominantly kinesthetic people to understand and assimilate need not only to create mental images like visuals but also need to practice, touch, smell, and taste.

Thus, while the visual learns a pattern by looking at it, the kinesthetic will have to reproduce it. But this reproduction can be mental.

• Predicates and Voice Rate

The most common words and expressions used by predominantly kinesthetic people are those referring to the practical sense. Thus the kinesthetic predicates are:

Smelling, Touching, Grasping, Flair, Touching, Concrete, Tension, Firm, Firm, Weight, Feeling, Sensation, Tender, Hard, Exciting, Cold …

When the kinesthetic speaks, his voice is serious with a slow flow. In addition, it marks frequent and long pauses between sentences and arguments.

• the Posture and the Gestures

When she speaks, the predominantly kinesthetic person has a very relaxed posture. By his actions, he mimes the words. Finally, his breathing is deep and slow.

• Eye Movements

The kinesthetic eyes are very often directed down and to the left when in a communication situation.

In summary: Kinesthetic People

Do you like manual work? Cook, build, work outdoors, plant, grow, and grow plants? Do you belong to people who do a lot of sport? So it is very likely that you are a kinesthetic person.

Neuro-Linguistic psychology indicates that kinesthetic people, in addition to being somewhat worried, have a particular taste for emotions and for everything to do with physical and manual things.

They are people who like to experiment with things themselves rather than hear about them. For example, they like to express their feelings by taking people in their arms, caressing them, or even eating a meal.

They are close and tactile people who, in general, do not have a strong interest in detail, as visual people can be. They are much more spontaneous and much less introspective or observational.

In a Conclusion on NLP Meta Programs

Each individual has a favorite communication channel. This is how individual cards are constructed that represent the reality on which we believe to act, and it is from these differences that most communication difficulties arise.

At the end of this article, I would like to reiterate that there is no one purely visual auditory, or kinesthetic. Depending on the context, we will probably be more in touch with one mode or the other and, as we grow older, we develop the other modes. However, it is desirable to have enough flexibility to adopt one mode or the other in order to reach as many people as possible. That’s probably what the good teachers you’ve had in the past, those who knew how to deftly and intuitively illustrate their explanations and create a climate of exchange conducive to learning.

Recognizing the privileged ways of people we meet, at work or elsewhere, allows us not only to adjust our communication to better reach them but to accept this different way of experiencing the world as wealth and not a threat or a source of conflict.

Also, if you are rather relaxed, nervous, thoughtful, or spontaneous. If you like to communicate or if you are more observant and introverted. All of this will affect how you view the world.

We can conclude by saying that it is possible that you have a percentage of each dimension. But what is certain is that there is necessarily a part with which you identify more.

Visual people are much more relaxed than auditory or kinesthetic people. However kinesthetic people are a little more worried and less thoughtful.

It is clear that we all have a small pinch of each of these aspects. But the most interesting thing about NLP is that it gives us a different perspective on how we understand reality. And how we perceive things and relate them to our personality.

Finally, note that the internal VAK designates our system of representation and the external VAK is that of perception.

The transition from the internal VAK to the external VAK is called SWITCH (or SQUASH) in NLP. It is the system of representation in the system of perception.

Thank you for reading this article now: Tell us if you are visual, auditory, or kinesthetic!


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