nlp communication model - perception academy

The NLP Model of Perception

The ‘NLP communication model’ is the foundational and essential model for how we as human beings create our ‘perception’ of reality.  It is upon this model that all of the advances of Neuro-Semantics were built/discovered.

This model is one of the basic frameworks for mapping out/modelling what happens in a given person’s mind-body system in between stimulus and response.

First I’ll show you the overall model, and then I will break it down step by step.

nlp communication model - perception academy

Step 1: From ‘External Event’ to ‘Internal Experience’

Our initial experience of the ‘External World’ begins when the events of the world (stimulus) impinge on our sense receptors.  It is at this moment that the ‘events’ of the world are converted into neuro-linguistic (mind-body) ‘information’.

  • Sight – Visual information
  • Sound – Auditory information
  • Touch – Kinesthetic information
  • Smell – Olfactory information
  • Taste – Gustatory information

In fact, all of internal experience is build up out of only those 5 components!

nlp communication model step 1

The Information is Filtered through Our State

Not only are the ‘external events’ of the world filtered through our senses, but they are filtered through all of the other active filters of our present mind-body state.

If someone bumps into you on the street, you will definitely respond differently if you’re in an easygoing state than if you’re in an angry state.

That’s because in different states you have access to different memories, beliefs, you value different things, etc.

All in all you think differently and you perceive things differently depending on what state you are in because from every different state, you have access to a different filters.


The Filters

Depending on the present state the stimulus gets filtered through various different:

  • Memories
  • Decisions
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Identities
  • Meta-Programs (thinking patterns)
  • etc.

The filters and style of filtering that you use in any given state is ‘the difference that makes a difference’ between why you respond one way and someone else responds another way.

Activate different filters, get a different response!

But it’s so much more than just ‘changing the filters’….

Neuro-Semantics gives us the ability to do so with surgical precision – gaining the ability recognize the  specific components in any given state that make that experience ‘work the way it does’ – the key leverage points for precision changework.

In doing so, we gain the ability to transform our unresourceful ways of responding to the world as well as to replicate amazing experiences from ourselves and others in more and more contexts of our lives.



Internal Representation

After this ‘filtering process’ you end up with your personally encoded Internal Representation of the event/object in the world.  This internal representation is NOT the thing itself, but your personal perception of it.  Based on the filters that were active in your initial state (your personal history with the stimulus, memories, beliefs, decisions, values, meta-programs, etc.).

This Internal Representation (along with ALL internal experience) is built up out of nothing more than:

  • Visual information
  • Auditory information
  • Kinesthetic information
  • Olfactory information
  • Gustatory information
  • Language aka Meta-Representations (Spoken language is auditory information, written language is visual information, braille is kinesthetic information, etc.)



That Internal Representation then feeds down into your physiology (as all embodied information does).

These two components (mind & body, information & physiology, neuro-semantics, etc.) combine into your new Present State – in response to your internal representation of the external event (stimulus).

nlp communication model step 4

You Respond Based on Your Mind-Body State

Just like you don’t behave the same when you are angry as you do when you are happy, your states govern all of your behavior.

And you never respond to the world itself.  You respond to your filtered down mental map of the world based on your available internal representations.

Because all of your behaviors flow out of your state, I think it goes without saying that managing your states is one of the key leverage points determining the results you are getting.

Beginning with the Meta-States Model, Neuro-Semantic NLP gives us the tools we need to precisely alter our states in ways that open us up to new responses and results in the world, to perform at our best and to unleash our highest potentials.


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  • Doug Post

    Reply Reply August 22, 2017

    A very clear and understandable explanation.

    • Jason Schneider

      Reply Reply October 21, 2017

      Thank you Doug, please let me know if you have any questions regarding NLP/Neuro-Semantics

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