How do you think?

We have four ways of processing out information once it’s inside our mind. We might picture the information visually (‘visual’), we might feel the information inside us (‘kinaesthetic’), we might hear the information inside our head (‘auditory’) or we might talk inside our head, to ourselves (‘auditory digital’). In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), this is called ‘Representational System Preference’.

It can be useful for us to know and understand how we process information because it can help us remember things, it can help us learn things and also, it gives us more self awareness about how we, as an individual, function (and that is always useful). It will show your what areas you are strong in, and what areas might be challenging for you.

Think of the animal, that is a bit like a hippo, but with a horn (that does a stunning animal terrible injustice, but hopefully it was enough for you to know which animal I’m thinking of). It has thick grey skin, is from Africa and is almost completely extinct. You can get the white X and the black X. Are you with me? Hopefully you are.

Ok, now how would you spell that word?

How did you know how to spell that word?

What happened inside your head?

Did you picture the word? What did the writing look like? Was there a background? Any colours? How was it written? Did you see it come letter by letter or did it appear as a whole? Whereabouts in your vision do you picture it?

Did you say it to yourself inside your head? Did you say it fluidly or did you break it down? What kind of tone did you talk in? Was anything else said alongside the word itself? Where in your head are you talking?

Did you feel what the next letter to come was? Where in your body did you feel it? What was the feeling like? How did you know that was right? Did you have to write it down to see it before feeling whether or not it was correct?

Did you hear the word said to you? Was it a voice you recognised? How did the voice sound? What did it say? Where does the voice come from?

Did you know you did any of those things when working out how to spell a word?

For me, I have a visual representational system, closely following by auditory digital and kinaesthetic. Auditory was no where on the map for me, but I’ve had to learn to put it there. So it is possible to hone our representational systems too.

You might now want to have a Google and see if you can find a ‘Representational System Preference Test’. There are lots of free ones on-line that you can do, and, you never know, you might learn something about yourself!