NLP and Neuro-Semantic Research




Whenever I’m interviewed by media people (journalists, writers for specialized magazines and journals, radio and television) about NLP or Neuro-Semantics, there are inevitably questions about research:

∙           What research has been done on this?

∙           Does research prove the validity of NLP?

∙           Have you personally conducted research to determine if this really works?


And if a reporter or journalist takes his job seriously and does his or her homework, the interviewer probably knows that while there has been some research done on NLP, there’s been very little and the research that has been done is mixed, some offers some validation and some indicates that some things are invalid.  A recent example was sent to me this week by Denis Bridoux in the UK.  This comes from the BBC website:


It is about “eye accessing cues and lying.”  Now in the original NLP books Bandler and Grinder repeatedly when asked, “Can you catch someone lying because their eyes go to ‘construct’ rather than memory?” they always said, “No.”  But many people have been poorly and inadequately trained in NLP and were either told that “NLP can detect lying,” or came to believe that on their own. [After all, it is a seductive idea that you could “see” people lying by one single indicator!]  So some researcher decided to test it and, surprise of surprise, they found that the hypothesis did not prove valid.  Then they falsely (and inadequately) concluded that “research does not support NLP.”(!)  And the fact is that there has been a lot of this kind of shallow and inadequate “research” about NLP.


But now things are changing and changing in a big way.  Today we have —

The NLP Research Conference — held in the UK every other year.


The NLP Research Journal edited by Dr. Paul Tosey– two volumes already completed.

The NLP Research and Recognition Project – led by Dr. Frank J. Bourke]


In early 2013, Rutledge Publications pubished

The Clinical Effectiveness of Neuro-Linguistic Programming


I write all of this because we have just completed the Third NLP Research Conference.  The conference occur on July 6 and 7 at the University of Hertfordshire, in the UK.  This year I had the privilege of giving the keynote presentation on The Qualitative Problem.  30 papers were presented about research projects that people had conducted in many different countries and languages although all of the presentations were made in English.  Researchers, Trainers, and Academicians came from at least 10 different countries.  I was really, really delighted that we had two of our people there delivering papers.


∙           Dr. Susie Linder-Pelz from Sydney Australia presented a study of the effect of benchmarking on participants and did a fabulous job!  I sat in and when she mentioned the title— “The effect of Benchmarking on participants” I sudden experienced a vision of a rush of faces of many, many participants which I’ve seen in many, many countries when the benchmarking of their skills didn’t support their own sense of competence (!!).  In spite of my personal anticipation of horror (!), Susie had a great presentation in terms of research design, quality, and reflection.


∙           Scott Pochron from Ohio, USA, similarly did an excellent job in presenting a synthesis between Developmental Psychology and NLP (including Meta-States and Neuro-Semantics) … he referred to the excellent book of John Burton, States of Equilibrium where Dr. Burton put the Meta-States Model of self-reflexivity together with the higher levels of adult development. Scott put all of that together with many, many models from the field of Developmental Psychology and is in the process of creating a website for Developmental NLP.


Today there are a lot of people in a lot of places doing research on the validity of nearly every aspect of the NLP Model.  And there are a lot of exciting things that are currently in the works about research.  Increasingly men and women in places of academic influence ate using NLP books, models, and methodologies.  For years, The Structure of Personality: Ordering and Disordering of Personality (2001, Crown House Publications) has been used as a textbook in courses on personality.


So if research is important to you and you want to stay up with the research that has bene occurring and is occurring in NLP, check out the Research Journals and the websites.  Also I have attached a file of descriptions of the papers presented at this current Conference.  And if you haven’t noticed, we have a “Research” button