List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming


List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming

List of studies on Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) summarizes the many studies that have been performed relevant to NLP, since the early 1980s. These tend to be of three types: studies, metastudies, and research in related fields (notably cognitive science and neuroscience).

A fourth kind of evidence, called anecdotal evidence, refers to end-user reports, and is often of a less controlled nature or less carefully analysed in a rigorous manner. Anecdotal evidence may be considered suggestive, and a direction to further research,but scientists do not consider it "proof" in its own right.

This article is intended to be read in conjunction with NLP and science, which summarizes and discusses the findings overall and considers how and where NLP stands in science.

Overview of NLP

Overview of key aspects of research into NLP

Actual clinical studies have been more productive, but many are merely suggestive or lack formal academic rigor. Equally (as researchers have pointed out), attempts have also been greatly obfuscated by many other factors, not least of which are unrealistic claims by some practitioners, poor scientific understanding of the subject being researched, failure to fully consider, control and understand all key variables, and often, lack of high quality experimental design. Key issues expected or highlighted include:
# NLP is intended to be used to a goal, and contains redundancy. That is, since no single strategy or approach is expected to be 100% consistent (since people vary so much), but NLP's "approach overall" is believed to have a better chance of producing notably more valuable information, and better potential change, in a more systematic manner, and in a wider range of circumstances, than previous alternatives. It is important to measure its "in situ" effectiveness rather than its assumptions, many of which are metaphorical.
# People can misunderstand themselves, and therefore their goals are moving goals. NLP allows for this. The measure of "success" is very often subjective to the client, or may change during working, and this is an expected aspect of working with people.
# NLP relies on micro-observation and virtuosity (i.e., smoothness of a wide range of skill use). It is important that skilled NLP practitioners are involved in planning, and (where appropriate) as elements within experimental design, to take account of this.
# Not all NLP training is equal. It is important when studying "NLP" to study excellence in the field, rather than niche or exaggerating practitioners.

Individual studies

Generally supportive

*Milton and Meta Models
**In a peer-reviewed study, Bulent Turan and Ruth M. Townsley Stemberger found that "matching another person's representational language enhances perceived empathy." The researchers placed a screen between the conversational partners in order to eliminate visual cues to empathy. [Turan, Bulent and Ruth M. Townsley Stemberger. "The Effectiveness of Matching Language to Enhance Perceived Empathy." "Communication & Cognition". Vol 33(3-4), 2000, 287-300.]
**In another peer-reviewed study, professors Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh report that when experimenters mirrored subjects, the subjects reported that the experimenters were "more likable" and that they had had "smoother interactions" with them. They call this the "chameleon effect." In addition, they found that people who were rated high on empathy mirrored their conversational partners more frequently. [Barco, Tori. "We're All Copycats." "Psychology Today Magazine", Nov/Dec 1999. http://psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19991101-000004.html . Accessed 24 June 2007.]
**Researchers at Stanford programmed an AI to mimic student movements while explaining a possible new university policy. An article in Wired explains that 7 out of the 69 students detected the mimicry, but the remaining students who did not detect it "liked the mimicking agent more than the recorded agent, rating the former more friendly, interesting, honest and persuasive. They also paid better attention to the parroting presenter, looking away less often. Most significantly, they were more likely to come around to the mimicking agent's way of thinking on the issue of mandatory ID." [Poulsen, Kevin. "AI Seduces Stanford Students." Wired online 31 May 2005. http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/05/67659 . Accessed 24 June 2007. ]
**Sandhu et al. found that NLP mirroring had a significant effect on various measurements of rapport in a cross-cultural counseling scenario. [Sandhu, Daya et al. "Cross-cultural Counseling and Neurolinguistic Mirroring with Native American Adolescents." "Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development" Vol 21(2) Apr 1993, 106-118.]
**Alan Brandis found that self-anchoring was "strongly related" to changes parental anger responses. [Brandis, Alan D. (1987): "A neurolinguistic treatment for reducing parental anger responses and creating more resourceful behavioral options." (Brandis, Alan D.: California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, US) Dissertation Abstract Dissertation Abstracts International. Vol 47(11-B), May 1987, pp. 4642. See NLP Comprehensive [http://www.nlpco.com/research/Anchoring/anchoring_parents.html] for abstract.]
**Horst Reckert studied one-session anchoring as a way to treat test anxiety with positive results. The author used mental training as a control. [Reckert, H.W. "Test anxiety removed by anchoring in just one session?" in Multimind, NLP Aktuell, No 6, November/December 1994.]
**Thomas Macroy found that more dissatisfied families substantially correlated with meta-model violations, and concluded that "challenging metamodel patterns is an important way to enhance the ability to achieve satisfaction socially." [Macroy, T.D. "Linguistic surface structures in family interaction" in Dissertation Abstracts International 40(2), 926 B, Utah State University, 133 pp., 1978. ]
**Cheek demonstrated that NLP Milton Model language use is capable of reaching and influencing the unconscious mind by inducing 3000 patients to respond with formal yes/no hand signals to questions while fully anesthetized. [Cheek, D. "Awareness of Meaningful Sounds Under General Anaesthesia." "Theoretical and Clinical Aspects of Hypnosis", Symposium Specialists, 1981.]
** Henry Asbell found that predicate matching was perceived as the "most helpful" of 4 strategies and resulted in higher ratings for counsellor empathy. [Asbell, Henry. "Effects of Reflection, Probe, and Predicate Matching on Perceived Counselor Characteristics." Dissertation Abstracts International 44(11), 3515-B University of Missouri at Kansas City.]
**Yappo (1981) found that when subjects were put in trance using a variety of inductions in different sensory systems, and EMG (electromyograph) and self-assessment were used to measure effects of predicate matching, both measures showed that deeper trance was induced when the preferred sensory system was used ["Yappo, 1981, effects of matching predicates on hypnotic relaxation, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 23" - Yappo put 30 subjects in trance using a variety of inductions in different sensory systems. "After each induction, their depth of trance was measured by electromyograph and by asking them how relaxed they felt. On both measures, subjects achieved greater relaxation when their preferred sensory system was used." ]
*Organic conditions
**Judith Swack, in an uncontrolled, non-peer reviewed study, used the NLP allergy cure on a group of ten people. The initial results were 70% success with 30% of these 7 relapsing over time. Of these 3, 2 fully recovered when other NLP techniques (including timeline therapy and V/K dissociation) were used. ["Swack, Judith. Study of Initial Response and Reversion Rates of Subjects Treated With The Allergy technique. "Anchor Point", Feb. 1992.]
**Hanne and Jorgen Lund tested NLP on asthmatics, finding that the lung capacity of members of the control group declined on average approximately 50ml, the members of the experimental group improved approximately 200ml. In the experimental group, unstable lung function measurements fell to under 10%, and the use of inhalers and acute medication both fell to zero. [Lund, H. Asthma Management: A Qualitative Research Study. "The Health Attractor", Vol. 1, No. 3, IASH, March, 1995. See also "A Summary of NLP Research" [http://www.nlpschedule.com/random/research-summary.html] .]
**Unterberger Ulbrich (1998) found that when NLP was used to treat serious chronic conditions in clinical trials, comprising 12 hours over 3 weeks, they "prove to be quite successful procedures" and "significant results show up", noting that "the participators in the training judge the success of their rehabilitation measures throughout more positively than the members of the control's group". ["Unterberger Ulbrich, 1998, Effects of NLP interventions with chronical diseases [chronic illness of the back, cancer, allergies and asthma] in clinical tests, approx German translation" - "Apparently the NLP techniques used in training prove to be quite successful procedures for the promotion of health. Although the training only comprised one period of 3 weeks (12 training hours), significant results show up. Thus the participators in the training judge the success of their rehabilitation measures throughout more positively than the members of the control's group." ]
*Clinical psychology
**Konefal (1992) found that, "Results confirm the effectiveness of neurolinguistic programming in lowering trait anxiety and increasing the sense of internal control" [Konefal J, Duncan R, Reese, M: "Effect of Neurolinguistic Programming Training on Trait Anxiety and Internal Locus of Control." Psychological Reports, 70:819-832, 1992.]
**Genser-Medlitsch & Schütz (1997) tested the effects of NLP master practitioners working on 55 clients with severe DSM conditions, many of whom were on psychiatric drugs. The control group of 60 had milder symptoms. After treatment of the NLP group, 2% felt no different, 98% felt better or much better, none felt worse (control group: 48% no different, 36% better, 15% worse). After therapy, the clients who received NLP scored higher in their perception of themselves as in control of their lives (with a difference at 10% significance level), reduced their use of drugs, used more successful coping methods, and reduced symptoms such as anxiety, aggression, paranoid thinking, social insecurity, compulsive behaviours, and depression. Positive changes in 25 of 33 symptom areas (76%) occurred as a result of NLP, positive changes in 3 areas occurred in both NLP and control groups. The researchers concluded "It could be established that, in principle, NLP is effective in accordance with the therapeutic objective." ["Genser-Medlitsch & Schütz, 1997, "Does Neuro-Linguistic psychotherapy have effect?" Martina Genser-Medlitsch; Peter Schätz, ·TZ-NLP, Wiederhofergasse 4, A-1090, Wien, Austria]
*General Psychology
**Miranda Paula & Palma examined in clinical trials whether NLP could help children and parents in shanty towns. They used an NLP intervention program over 15 sessions (approx 10 helped with NLP, 27 control), measuring children’s psychomotor development, home environment and maternal mental health before and after. They concluded "There was a trend that indicated positive effects on the home environment". ["de Miranda et al. "Impact of the application of neurolinguistic programming to mothers of children enrolled in a day care center of a shantytown." "Sao Paulo Medical Journal", 1999 Mar 4;117(2):63-71.]
**Gerald Davis found that NLP's "structure, terminology, and sound theoretical principles resulted in gathering valuable process information" when counselling prelingually deaf adults [Davis, Gerald L. (1985): "Neuro-linguistic programming as an interviewing technique with prelingually deaf adults." (Davis, Gerald L.: Oklahoma State U) Dissertation Abstract Dissertation Abstracts International. Vol 46(5-A), Nov 1985, pp. 1247-1248.]
**Frank (1997, Germany) investigated NLP in social work, finding "enormous changes" and that "very many of the people indicated that they could increase their adaptability, feel technically more competent and make a more intensive self reflection", summarizing that it had "fallen out very positively" ["Frank, 1997, using NLP in social work, approx translation from German" - "The question about impact of the individual NLP interventions (the Meta model, verbal and nonverbales Pacing and leading, the attention of the body language as well as the Reframing models) [was responded] particularly positively ... The social educators consider the feedback of the client and the secondary profit of the problem behavior now substantially more intensively. Enormous changes were registered also in the formulation of goals and the attention to their ecological compatibility. Moreover, very many of the people indicated that they could increase their adaptability, feel technically more competent and make a more intensive self reflection ... According to these positive experiences the answer to the question whether NLP is meaningful as further training for social paedagogues, has fallen out very optimistically." ]
**Loiselle (1985, University of Moncton, New Brunswick) tested various spelling strategies and found: control=no change, "visualize"=10% better, "visualize up/right" (ie NLP Visual) = 20-25% better, "visualize down/left" (ie NLP Kinesthetic)=15% worse. ["Spelling was tested again by Loiselle (1985, University of Moncton, New Brunswick). Four groups of pretested average spellers were given the same spelling test (using made up nonsense words they had not seen before). Each group had different instructions and each obtained different results in their spelling test: Group A was simply told to "learn the words". (scored same as pretest), Group B was told to "visualize the words as a method of learning them" (scored 10% better), Group C was told to "look up to the left", which NLP claims helps visual memory (scored 20-25% better). A further group, Group D, were told to "look down to the right", which NLP claims helps feeling kinesthetically, but may hinder visualizing. People in this group scored 15% worse than pretest. These were almost identical results to Malloy (1989)]
**Almost identical results were obtained by Malloy (1989) - the NLP spelling strategy produced a 25% improvement in spelling ability (and 100% retention) compared to no change in a control group but that spellers told to visualize in what NLP claims is a Kinesthetic manner (down/left) were scored around 10% worse. ["Malloy, 1989, Cognitive strategies and a classroom procedure for teaching spelling" - "Thomas Malloy (1989) at the University of Utah Department of Psychology completed a study with three groups of spellers, again pretested to find average spellers. One group were taught the NLP spelling strategy of looking up and to the left, one group were taught a strategy of sounding out by phonetics and auditory rules, and one were given no new information. In this study the tests involved actual words. Again, the visual recall spellers improved 25%, and had near 100% retention one week later. The group taught the auditory strategies improved 15% but this score dropped 5% in the following week. The control group showed no improvement." ]
**Wilhelm (1991, Germany) tested the "swish" pattern for nail-biting, finding "significant variations of the nailbiting" and that results were stable up until followup"Wilhelm, 1991, various NLP submodality techniques tested on nailbiting" - "The related technologies brought both significant variations of the nailbiting and the growth. The swish-technology showed clear advantages vis-à-vis the switch-technology. To the follow-up moment, the obtained results were further stable." ]
*V/K dissociation
**Einspruch (1988) found "marked improvement" over an 8 week period in a test of 31 patients who undertook NLP phobia treatment"Einspruch, 1988, phobia cure evaluation" - "Thirty-one phobic patients seen in group/class treatment programs completed Mark's Phobia Questionnaire and Fear Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory before and after 8 weeks of treatment. Seventeen patients seen in individual therapy completed part of the phobia questionnaire before and after treatment. Results indicate marked improvement by those who were treated. Findings suggest that NLP holds promise for becoming an important set of therapeutic techniques for treating phobias." ]
**Koziey and McLeod (1987) found that the NLP V/K technique produced a "positive reduction in anxiety in teenage rape [trauma] " ["Review of Koziey and McLeod,1987, use of V/K dissociation in rape trauma, "Professional Psychology; Research and Practice" - "V-KD has been cited [by Koziey] as showing a positive reduction in anxiety in teenage rape victims" ]
**Muss (1991) examined the impact of NLP V/K technique on 19 insurer-referred police officers who met DSM-III post-traumatic stress disorder criteria, following up at 3-24 months. Most stated it had greatly helped, in long term followup 100% of those reached confirmed freedom from recurrence. ["Muss, 1991, use of V/K Dissociation for trauma" - "An uncontrolled study with a sample of 19 British police officers referred for stress management by a medical insurance company. Of 70 officers seen, 19 met DSM-III criteria for PTSD ... Treatment effectiveness was evaluated by the participant's verbal self-reports immediately following the procedure, at a one-week follow-up interview, and at long-term follow-up interviews occurring in an interval anywhere from three months to two years after V/KD treatment. Muss reported that most of the participants (exact number was not specified) stated that they "felt as if a great weight had suddenly been lifted; others did not remark on any immediate change". All 19 officers reported "feeling well" at the one-week follow-up. [Long term follow-up comprised] 10 were contacted by phone and five were reviewed at the clinic, the other four could not be contacted. All [fifteen] confirmed freedom from recurring intrusive images and a return to normal behavior." ]
**Dietrich (2000) reviewed NLP V/K dissociation trials, and concluded that NLP was "promising" and that "intrusive symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and interpersonal and occupational functioning improved for many of the participants in the studies reviewed" ["Dietrich, 'traumatology' aug 2000, review of V/K dissociation in trauma treatment" - "The studies reviewed for this paper suggest that V/KD, although currently at an experimental level of efficacy and in need of further well-designed empirical study, may be a promising treatment for at least some forms of Posttraumatic Disorder. Intrusive symptoms, avoidance behaviors, and interpersonal and occupational functioning improved for many of the participants in the studies reviewed [...] The study by Hossack and Bentall meets many of the controls for internal validity in case studies as set forth by Kazdin (1998)."]
**In "A Review of Alternative Approaches to the Treatment of Post Traumatic Sequelae" Dietrich et al said that "the available evidence suggests TIR, the TRI Method, and V/KD are effective treatments for posttraumatic sequelae." [...] "Rigorous studies need to be conducted and replicated using comparison groups to demonstrate that the identified treatment is equivalent to another “well-established" treatment or superior to medication, psychological placebo or other treatment. Scientist-practitioners are encouraged to take an active role in this line of enquiry and to conduct research with combined components, using good experimental designs and standardized approaches."Dietrich, AM., Baranowsky, AB., Devich-Navarro, M., Gentry, JE, Harris, CJH., Figley, CR., (2000) [http://www.fsu.edu/~trauma/v6i4/v6i4a2.htm A Review of Alternative Approaches to the Treatment of Post Traumatic Sequelae] "Traumatology" Volume VI (4,2)]

Generally dismissive

Mixed or indeterminate findings

* Predicate matching Heap (1988) found that findings were "on the whole" negative, but also that "a number of positive outcomes" were reported. He interprets this to mean that there was an effect but it was perhaps more general than expected, noting that this would agree with expectations of NLP writers and also other findings that "with increasing familiarity, client and counsellor tend to converge in their usage of certain linguistic structure". ["Heap 1988" - "On the balance the findings have been negative but a number of positive outcomes have been reported, enough to suggest that there may be some beneficial effect of matching, perhaps not specific to predicates but to more general linguistic and non-linguistic behaviour, as indeed NLP writers themselves have suggested. For example, Mercier and Johnson have concluded that with increasing familiarity, client and counsellor tend to converge in their usage of certain linguistic structure such as verb phrases."]

* Weight loss Bott (1995) found that NLP gave "partially positive effects" for treating psychogenic weight loss. Unclear if there was a control group. ["Bott, Germany 1995, evaluation of a NLP based treatment for psychogenic weight loss" - "The support program is based on methods of the NLP and showed partially positive effects."]

* Management learning Dowlen (1996) performed own research and also reviewed the existing research, to examine whether NLP was "help or hype" in management training. He concluded that:::"NLP techniques using language patterns and questioning techniques appear to be of use... existing research evidence is limited and inconclusive... NLP is enthusiastically supported by those who practise it, and that is both its strength and potential weakness." ["Ashley Dowlen, "NLP - help or hype?", published Career Development International, Feb 1996 p. 27 - 34" - "Identifies aspects of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) that may be of use in management learning. Uses three approaches to explore NLP; an introductory programme, a profiling questionnaire and an analysis of a sample of management development articles. Then reviews research evidence on NLP. Concludes that NLP techniques using language patterns and questioning techniques appear to be of use; existing research evidence is limited and inconclusive; NLP is enthusiastically supported by those who practise it, and that is both its strength and potential weakness." [http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=883025] ]

* NLP-trained observers and eye movement existence and detection Buckner (1987) found that "coefficients of agreement (Cohen's K) between participants' self-reports and trained observers' records indicate support for the visual (K=.81, p<.001) and auditory (K=.65, p<.001) portions of the model", and that "interrater agreement (K=.82) supports the NLP claim that specific eye movement patterns exist and that trained observers can reliably identify them" ["Buckner, 1987, eye movements" - "Two NLP-trained observers independently viewed silent videotapes of participants concentrating and recorded the presence or absence of eye movements posited by NLP theorists to indicate visual, auditory, or kinesthetic components in thought. Coefficients of agreement (Cohen's K) between participants' self-reports and trained observers' records indicate support for the visual (K=.81, p<.001) and auditory (K=.65, p<.001) portions of the model. The kinesthetic (K=.15, p<.85) portion was not supported. Interrater agreement (K=.82) supports the NLP claim that specific eye movement patterns exist and that trained observers can reliably identify them."]

* Predicate matching and eye movements Baddeley (1991) found positive correlation between predicates and certain predicted eye movements [ "Baddeley, 1991, eye movement v. predicted movement" - "Results failed to support the neurolinguistic programming hypothesis although post-hoc tests located some distinctive eye-movement trends [but t] here was a tendency for the auditory remembered questions to be associated with a greater number of predicted eye movements than expected by chance. Visually remembered and auditory constructed questions tended to be positively associated with predicted eye-movements both within and across eye-movement instances."]

Meta-studies and similar commentaries on research

* Sharpley (1984) performed a metastudy of 15 studies seeking to test for a 'preferred representation system.' He concluded strongly that there was "little supportive evidence and a large amount of data opposing the validity of the concept." The concept of a PRS was (whether earlier or later than this) dropped within NLP.

* Einspruch & Forman (1985), responding to Sharpley, criticized all 39 studies to that date (including all 15 of Sharpleys') for serious errors, and concluded that as a result it was "not possible at this time to determine the validity of either NLP concepts or whether NLP-based therapeutic procedures are effective": Einspruch, 1985, "Observations on NLP research)"] ::"There is a growing body of empirical literature on Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). A review of this literature by Sharpley (1984) failed to consider a number of methodological errors. In the present article the authors identify six categories of design and methodological errors contained in [empirical studies] through April 1984. These categories include (a) lack of understanding of the concepts of pattern recognition and inadequate control of context; (b) unfamiliarity with NLP as an approach to therapy; (c) lack of familiarity with the NLP "Meta-Model" of linguistic communication; (d) failure to consider the role of stimulus-response associations; (e) inadequate interviewer training and definitions of rapport; and, (f) logical mistakes. ... Suggestions are offered for improving the quality of research on NLP.":Some of these criticisms were later challenged or rebutted by Sharpley, but the majority of them are, in general, accepted.

* Sharpley published a follow-up review (1987):Sharpley, 1987, p. 105. Sharpley was also a source used by Heap (1988)] ::"There are conclusive data from the research on NLP, and the conclusion is that the principles and procedures suggested by NLP have failed to be supported by those data. Perhaps NLP principles are not amenable to research evaluation. This does not necessarily reduce NLP to worthlessness for counseling practice. Rather, it puts NLP in the same category as psychoanalysis, that is, with principles not easily demonstrated in laboratory settings but, nevertheless, strongly supported by clinicians in the field." [Sharpley (1988) concludes by cautioning however, that "If it has been tested, and fails, then it is relegated."]

*Sharpley 1987 quote: “There are conclusive data from the research on NLP, and the conclusion is that the principles and procedures of NLP have failed to be supported by those data” Then he (Sharpley) says “On the other hand, Einspruch and Forman (1985) implied that NLP is far more complex than presumed by researchers, and thus, the data are not true evaluations of NLP. Perhaps this is so, and perhaps NLP procedures are not amenable to research evaluation. This does not necessarily reduce NLP to worthlessness for counseling practice. Rather it puts it in the same category as psychoanalysis, that is, with principles not easily demonstrated in laboratory settings but, nevertheless, strongly supported by clinicians in the field. Not every therapy has to undergo the rigorous testing that is characteristic of the more behavioural approaches to counseling to be of use to the therapeutic community, but failure to produce data that support a particular theory from controlled studies does relegate that theory to questionable status in terms of professional accountability” Right at the end of the article the sentences read: “Elich et al referred to NLP as a psychological fad, and they may well have been correct. Certainly research data do not support the rather extreme claims that proponents of NLP have made as to the validity of its principles or the novelty of its procedures.”

* Heap says of his own research into matching predicates (1988) that:::"Einsprech and Forman are probably correct in insisting that the effectiveness of NLP therapy undertaken in authentic clinical contexts of trained practitioners has not yet been properly investigated." [http://www.hypno1.co.uk/art_nlp.htm]

* Druckman (1988) reports that anecdotal evidence on NLP is broadly credible and positive, but that most attempted studies are heavily flawed, such as (a) equating subjective empathy with clinical effectiveness, (b) studying NLP as a theory, rather than as an influencing technique pitted against existing influencing techniques, (c) Attempting to replicate findings of NLP using subjects, observers, or experimental designers who lack NLP training, and (d) lack of studies on NLP as a trainer modeling system. He concludes that as a result of the study flaws, and despite the anecdotal support: ["Druckman (1988) p.143" - "One type of program that has achieved a measure of success is called neurolinguistic programming. Various purveyors of this system offer training seminars in many cities on a regular basis. Respected and responsible people who have been trained in the system report positively. [...] Studies of the effectiveness of NLP are limited in a number of ways. The dependent measure used in most studies is client-counselor empathy, as measured on a paper-and-pencil scale (e.g., Hammer, 1983). This is not a satisfactory index of the therapeutic effectiveness of the counselor. One can find a counselor very empathetic but nonetheless ineffective in modifying behaviors or feelings. There are no studies comparing the effectiveness of NLP as an influence technique with other interpersonal influence techniques. "None of the studies testing aspects of NLP has used NLP-certified Trainers as counselors, therapists, or eye movement monitors"; thus studies that fail to support NLP are subject to the criticism that, if properly trained people had been used, the results would have been more positive. Ignoring where the burden of proof lies, the fact remains that the experimental evidence fails to provide support for NLP. There are no studies in the scientific literature on NLP as a way of modeling experts for training purposes." [... Druckman concludes that as a result of the studies, and despite the anecdotal support...] "Overall, there is little or no empirical evidence to date to support either NLP assumptions or NLP effectiveness." [http://darwin.nap.edu/books/0309037921/html/133.html] ] ::"Ignoring where the burden of proof lies, the fact remains that the experimental evidence fails to provide support for NLP... Overall, there is little or no empirical evidence to date to support either NLP assumptions or NLP effectiveness."

* Platt (2001) observed that whilst studies evaluating specific NLP points such as predicates, representation systems and eye movements tended to give positive results only around 15-35% of the time, when he examined studies of the effects of NLP "applied in its complete context", in this case phobia cures, "56% found positive evidence to support NLP's effectiveness."

*Thompson et al (2002) question the current research and subsequently propose further longitudinal studies, "The research question is how to measure the impact of NLP training on individual and organisational performance. The existing literature provided little evidence of the efficacy of NLP and provided no templates for analysis. There were no examples of longitudinal studies. A review of four online databases (PsycInfo, Eurobusiness ASAP, Proquest, and First Search) gives 54 citations of which only eight are research studies. Four indicate positive benefits, and four indicate no measurable effect. Einspruch and Forman (1985) give six categories of error in the research on NLP, the major of which is inadequate control of context. In a discussion of these findings, Sharpley (1987) details seven studies (not included in the above total) that demonstrate that the research data does not support the basic tenets of NLP. It is noteworthy that this literature is based in the positivist psychological tradition and many of the examples are in therapeutic areas, e.g. phobia cure and counselling. Interest in this area appears to fade in the early 1990s and there are few reported studies after this date. Dissertation Abstracts International reveals five studies, four of which have a conventional research base. Two of the studies (teaching, and post-traumatic stress) revealed no significant effects. Two, on eye movements and leadership revealed positive effects. Young’s (1995) thesis shows that the leaders made lasting progress on achieving desired outcomes and reported growth, and the students attributed change to the various NLP course components. [Wikipedia:Footnotes| [broken footnote] Young’s (1995) The study included interviews one year after the NLP intervention.. [Wikipedia:Footnotes| [broken footnote] The review of literature does not provide a firm base for a belief that NLP has a lasting effect. Many of the studies are arguably methodologically flawed . Their “flaws” raise considerable methodological and method issues. This view is supported by the positivist stance of Baddeley (1989) that a final verdict (on NLP) is withheld until further clinical studies and experimental investigations are reported... " John E. Thompson, Lisa Courtney, D. Dickson (Aug 2002) "The effect of neurolinguistic programming on organisational and individual performance: a case study" Journal of European Industrial Training Vol.26.6 pp.292-298]

Findings within neuroscience and cognitive science

* NLP and neurotransmitter/neurological activity Baxter (1994) found that NLP reframing used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder in place of Prozac resulted in the same raised serotonin levels and reduced caudate nucleus activity as control subjects who took medication (as measured by Positron Emission Tomography scans of the brain) ["Baxter, 1994, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry" - "Clients with obsessive compulsive disorder had raised activity in neural networks inside the caudate nucleus of the brain (demonstrated on PET scans of the brain). Drugs such as Prozac raise serotonin levels and the caudate nucleus activity is thus reduced. Baxter found that when clients repeated a simple reframe to themselves, the Positron Emission Tomography scan showed the same raising of serotonin levels and the same lowering of activity in the caudate nucleus." ]

* Submodalities and sensory perception Visual submodalities have been shown to affect kinesthetic states, for example room color has an effect on temperature perception (Berry, Journal of Applied Psychology 45/4) and packaging color changes the effectiveness of the placebo effect (Buckalew and Ross, 1981) ["Buckalew and Ross, 1981, "Relationship of Perceptual Characteristics to Efficacy of Placebos", reported in Psychological Reports" - Visual submodalities have been shown to affect kinesthetic states, for example room color has an effect on temperature perception (Berry, "Effect of Coloured Illumination Upon Perceived Temperature", Journal of Applied Psychology 45/4) and packaging color changes the effectiveness of the placebo effect. ]

Conclusions

ee also

References


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