• Posted: October 2012
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Representational Systems

Representational system characteristics
The descriptions below are characteristics of each system. Consider the descriptions as generalisations of how people process and respond when in a particularly representational system mode. Most people will go into different modes throughout the day. Some people will be highly dominant in one system and hardly use another system. Others are more balanced and will respond in different systems depending on context.

V: Visual
When in visual mode, a person is mapping predominantly through internal images and will use visual predicates to describe their experience. ‘You have a bright future’.  When in visual mode people generally breathe quickly and from the top of their chest. Their head is up with eyes often going upwards as they access visual information. Speech is quick as they are often describing a series of images or movies.  In visual mode people will be less aware of the other systems. They may gesture and point a lot, this is because they are creating images around them and move their hand towards the images as they speak. They remember through images. A person with a highly valued visual system places more value on visual information, how a person looks, tidiness, clothes etc. They talk in pictures often drawing diagrams to ‘illustrate’ their point. 

A: Auditory
When in auditory mode, a person is mapping predominantly in sounds and internal dialogue (auditory digital). In this mode people breathe from the middle of the chest and speak in a pronounced deliberate way (rather than very quickly when in visual). They will move eyes side ways and down to their left”. In auditory mode a person is more likely to be distracted by noise as they have a higher auditory awareness.  They learn by listening, talking and repeating to themselves. Auditory mode promotes thinking and memorising in steps, procedures and sequences. A person who processes a lot in auditory likes verbal feedback, likes to talk things over, and remembers verbal instructions quite easily. They will also respond to a certain tone of voice or set of words. Auditory digital mode is self talk. Auditory tonal is hearing music or other tonal representations. They sound things out in their minds and they will often use words that correlate to sound e.g. ‘tune into’.

K: Kinesthetic
When in kinesthetic mode people are mapping predominantly in feelings. They have high body awareness, being aware of sensations, touch, the feeling of clothes on their body.
The breath from their lower stomach and talk slowly as the words they use are describing their feelings. In kinesthetic mode key decisions are based on feelings. In kinesthetic mode a person uses touch when communicating and is fine with being touched. They like to move around and enjoy hands on activities. They will enjoy physical experience such as sport, bodywork etc. When in kinaesthetic mode a person will use predicates that correlate to feelings ‘get a grip’:

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