Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Naomi M. Meara

Committee Members

Gary Klukken, Kenneth Newton, Charles Thompson


The purpose of this study was to investigate some of the basic tenets of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) eye movement model which state that specific eye movements are indicative of when a person is thinking visually, auditorily, and/or kinesthetically. Forty-eight graduate and undergraduate students from educational psychology classes were interviewed and were asked to concentrate on a single thought while their eye movements were videotaped. They were subsequently asked if their thoughts contained visual, auditory, and/or kinesthetic components. Two NLP trained observers independently rated edited silent videotapes of the subjects and reported the presence of eye movements posited by NLP theorists to indicate visual, auditory, and/or kinesthetic components in thought. Interrater agreement was calculated using Cohen’s (kappa), K=.82, which supports the NLP claim that eye movement patterns do exist and that trained observers will agree on the identification of such patterns. Coefficients of agreement were calculated using Cohen’s K (kappa) to evaluate agreement between participants’ self-reports of sensory components in thought and trained observers’ reports of corresponding eye movements hypothesized by NLP theorists. Results indicate support for the visual, K=.81, p<.001, and auditory, K=.65, p<.001, portions of the NLP eye movement model. The kinesthetic, K=-.15, p<.85, portion of the NLP eye movement model was not supported. The discussion focuses (a) upon limitations of the study such as the use of right-handed participants only and the use of observers trained in NLP theory, (b) upon implications of the study for NLP theory and for counselors in the field, and (c) upon recommendations for future research including alternate methods for examining the kinesthetic portion of the eye movement model and a suggestion for examining the NLP construct of Primary Representational System.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Education Commons