Every experience we have is a combination of sensory impressions. This applies to –for example- the studying of academic lessons, walking along the beach, creating artwork or reading a book. Without our senses we cannot experience. Through our senses we experience this world, we learn and manage. Past experiences are obtainable to us by calling up the various storage places in our memory. Everything we’ve ever seen, lies in our visual memory. Everything we’ve ever heard, lies in our auditory memory, and everything we have ever felt, lies in our kinesthetic memory. Watching a movie (visually), often arouses feelings (kinesthetic). These feelings are largely caused by the sounds, voices, music and even the silence (auditory). People usually have a preference for one of these three senses when registering an experience.
Our inner subjective experience is structured in terms of these senses. When one thinks back to certain situations, it appears that one usually recalls the easiest of the three sensory representations. This sensory representation is called the preferred representation system.
Discovering other people’s preferred representation system can be fun. You can get many clues by watching and listening closely to three tell-tale signs:
- Eye movements – The direction in which people’s eyes move during thinking;
- Language – The kind of words and phrases people use;
- Physiology – People’s posture, breathing, and gestures.
After you develop the ability to spot the representation system that someone’s using most, you can then work out ways to be so much more successful in understanding them.