An investigation of eye movements and representational systems

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Owens, Lee Franklin, 1943-
Hollis, Joseph William
Issue Date
Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services
Other Identifiers

The primary focus of this research was to examine that portion of the model for psychotherapy developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler in their 1976 book, The Structure of Magic II, concerned with internal representational systems. Specifically, the study was designed to investigate the relationship between reflexive eye movement patterns, verbalizations, and individual self-report as measures of representational systems. This comparison was made to determine if the three variables would demonstrate significant agreement as predictors of internal representational systems.Students in undergraduate psychology courses in two different departments of a large midwestern university were solicited as subjects for this research. One hundred and twenty-eight individuals participated in the study. Those individuals who participated represented various age groups and academic majors. In this study subjects served as their own controls.Four hypotheses were formulated to investigate the probability of various combinations of eye movements, verbalizations, and individual self-reports as predictors of respresentational systems. The author developed nine stimulus cues for subject response. Six cues required no verbal response and were used for eye movement rating only. The remaining three cues were responded to verbally and provided both eye movement and verbalization ratings. Each subject was individually rated on eye movements and verbalizations by different raters. A frequency count procedure was utilized in rating each individual's eye movements and verbalizations. The most frequently occurring system was classified as the primary representational system for each of these variables. At the completion of the study, each individual provided information on his or her primary representational system through use of a short questionnaire developed by the author. The representational system rated as number one on the self-report questionnaire was classified as the primary representational system for individual self-report. The results of all ratings were classified as either visual, kinesthetic, or auditory and then compared on the variables.Statistical analyses were carried out to determine if there was significant agreement (p<.05) between the variables. Analysis of the results indicated one significant finding. The most reliable means of determining representational systems in this study was through a combination of observing eye movements and listening to the predicate system most frequently used in the verbalizations of an individual. This method was more reliable than observing eye movements and obtaining an individual's self-report; or listening to the most frequently used predicate system and obtaining an individual's self-report; or observing eye movements, listening for the most frequently used predicate system, and obtaining an individual's self-report. The combination of observing eye movements and listening for the most frequently used predicate system was statistically significant. All other combinations mentioned failed to reach statistical significance.