Directory:The Wikipedia Point of View/Studies on Neurolinguistic programming

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This article analyses the sources used for the Wikipedia article List_of_studies_on_Neuro-linguistic_programming as at 19 August 2008. The analysis is only of the ones cited as 'generally supportive'.

Some of the sources seem to have been taken from this NLP website.

Generally supportive

  • 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. [1]
  • 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. [2]
    • comment. This paper does not actually appear to mention NLP.
  • 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." [3]
    • comment. Another paper that does not mention NLP at all, but is cited as though 'supportive' of NLP.
  • Sandhu et al. found that NLP mirroring had a significant effect on various measurements of rapport in a cross-cultural counseling scenario. [4]
  • Alan Brandis found that self-anchoring was "strongly related" to changes parental anger responses.[5]
  • Horst Reckert studied one-session anchoring as a way to treat test anxiety with positive results. The author used mental training as a control.[6]
    • comment. Multimind is another NLP promotional journal.
  • 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."[7]
  • 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.[8]
    • Comment. This refers to a study by Cheek that the unconscious patients are capable of responding to hand signals. It is not a demonstration of the Milton model per se, as the paper does not appear to refer to the Milton model [3].
  • Henry Asbell found that predicate matching was perceived as the "most helpful" of 4 strategies and resulted in higher ratings for counsellor empathy.[9]
  • 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[10]

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.[11]
    • Comment. Not a peer-reviewed study, the journal appears to be an NLP sponsored publication, and Swack herself appears to be an NLP practitioner. See here
  • 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.[12]
    • Comment - The Health Attractor is another NLP publication
  • 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".[13]
  • Clinical psychology
  • Konefal (1992) found that, "Results confirm the effectiveness of neurolinguistic programming in lowering trait anxiety and increasing the sense of internal control"[14]
  • 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."[15]
  • 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".[16]
  • Gerald Davis found that NLP's "structure, terminology, and sound theoretical principles resulted in gathering valuable process information" when counselling prelingually deaf adults[17]
  • 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"[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • Wilhelm (1991, Germany) tested the "swish" pattern for nail-biting, finding "significant variations of the nailbiting" and that results were stable up until followup[21]
  • V/K dissociation
  • Einspruch (1988) found "marked improvement" over an 8 week period in a test of 31 patients who undertook NLP phobia treatment[22]
  • Koziey and McLeod (1987) found that the NLP V/K technique produced a "positive reduction in anxiety in teenage rape [trauma]"[23]
  • 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.[24]
  • 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"[25]
    • Comment the journal cited (Traumatology) includes articles on 'alternative' therapy such as thought field therapy, which is generally discredited.
  • 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."[26]
    • Comment the journal cited (Traumatology) includes articles on 'alternative' therapy such as thought field therapy, which is generally discredited.


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Barco, Tori. "We're All Copycats." Psychology Today Magazine, Nov/Dec 1999. . Accessed 24 June 2007.
  3. ^ Poulsen, Kevin. "AI Seduces Stanford Students." Wired online 31 May 2005. . Accessed 24 June 2007.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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 [1] for abstract.
  6. ^ Reckert, H.W. "Test anxiety removed by anchoring in just one session?" in Multimind, NLP Aktuell, No 6, November/December 1994.
  7. ^ Macroy, T.D. "Linguistic surface structures in family interaction" in Dissertation Abstracts International 40(2), 926 B, Utah State University, 133 pp., 1978.
  8. ^ Cheek, D. "Awareness of Meaningful Sounds Under General Anaesthesia." "Theoretical and Clinical Aspects of Hypnosis", Symposium Specialists, 1981.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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."
  11. ^ Swack, Judith. Study of Initial Response and Reversion Rates of Subjects Treated With The Allergy technique. Anchor Point, Feb. 1992.
  12. ^ 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" [2].
  13. ^ 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."
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Genser-Medlitsch & Schütz, 1997, "Does Neuro-Linguistic psychotherapy have effect?" Martina Genser-Medlitsch; Peter Schätz, ·TZ-NLP, Wiederhofergasse 4, A-1090, Wien, Austria
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ 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."
  19. ^ "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)
  20. ^ 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."
  21. ^ 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."
  22. ^ 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."
  23. ^ 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"
  24. ^ 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."
  25. ^ 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)."
  26. ^ Dietrich, AM., Baranowsky, AB., Devich-Navarro, M., Gentry, JE, Harris, CJH., Figley, CR., (2000) A Review of Alternative Approaches to the Treatment of Post Traumatic Sequelae Traumatology Volume VI (4,2)