Basic Examples of NLP

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a name that encompasses the three most influential components involved in producing human experience: neurology, language and programming. The neurological system regulates how our bodies function, language determines how we interface and communicate with other people and our programming determines the kinds of models of the world we create. Neuro-Linguistic Programming describes the fundamental dynamics between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how their interplay affects our body and behavior (programming).  (

In essence, all of NLP is founded on two fundamental presuppositions: 1) The Map is Not the Territory; and 2) Life and ‘Mind’ are Systemic Processes.

To understand it more, let us relate NLP to some basic examples that we may have already encountered but are unaware of.

Perceptual Priming

Message d’amour des dauphins” by Sandro del Prete
Message d’amour des dauphins” by Sandro del Prete

What do you see in the picture above? This piece “Message d’amour des dauphins”, by the Swiss artist named Sandro del Prete, depicts a man and woman in a provocative pose. Or does it? Some people see the couple, but others see something else-dolphins.

Scientific research showed that children can’t recognise erotic scenes. Instead they see 9 dolphins. On the other hand, adult’s mind is rather “corrupted” so adult person may have problems spoting 9 dolphins at first eye glaze. If you have trouble spoting dolphins in the first 6 seconds, then your mind is heavily corrupted, and you are seriously obsessed with sex! …better go and practice with easier

There exists research that suggests that the differences in perception are due to perceptual priming. Priming refers the phenomenon where the exposure of one stimulus influences the perception of another (Kolb & Whishaw 2003). In this case, individuals who are more exposed to sexual images are more likely to see the couple, and likewise, those who have very little exposure to sexual images (presumably children) are more likely to see the dolphins.

However, this is only one explanation. Research by Patrick Cavanagh shows that darkness contrasts in images are perceived as shadow (Cavanagh 2005). In del Prete’s image, the dolphins are darker than the “skin” of the bodies and are therefore perceived as shadows.

If you are unable to shift your perspective to see the dolphins in del Prete’s artwork, there’s no need to worry. Just flip the image upside-down and you will be able to see a different image.

Upside-down image of del Prete's "Message d’amour des dauphins"
Upside-down image of del Prete’s “Message d’amour des dauphins”

This approach is also adapted by those who forge signatures. By turning it upside down, it can help you to look at the signature from another angle. This will help you approach it more objectively and enable you to recreate it for what it is, rather than getting your personal signature-writing habits involved.

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