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Detecting Body Language Lies With Neurolinguistic Programming.

Updated on September 4, 2012

The Linguistics of lying

If you're that intent on being a mind reader, or you simply wish to perform party tricks. You might be interested in set of body language signals known as Visual Accessing Cues. The catch? They must be right-handed (else the signals and movements are reversed).

The term visual accessing cues was first discussed in the book, "Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)" by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. They found that when asked a question a normally "organized person" tends to repeat the same eye directions in association with the same emotion.

Emotions that can be deciphered by decoding Visual Access Cues are:

  1. Visually Constructed Images and Visually Remembered Images.
  2. Auditory Constructed and Auditory Remembered
  3. Kinestetic (e.g Pain) and what is known as Internal Dialogue.

Having tried this myself on numerous occasions, I can attest that it seems to work most of the time. I like surprising people with a party trick that works with this information (which I will mention later). Personally, there are some people with whom it will work 100% of the time. Others can be impossible to read.

The moon's alignment with Venus tells me you're lying! *cough*
The moon's alignment with Venus tells me you're lying! *cough*

Visual Accessing Cues

The directions discussed refer to the direction in which the eyes go when answering a question, or simply thinking.

  • Up and to the Left : Visually Constructed Images. Asking you to imagine a crocodile with fangs and wings.
  • Up and to the Right : Visually Remembered Images. Asking you to picture your favourite painting.
  • Left : Auditory Constructed. What the sound of a plant screaming may sound like? (assuming you haven't heard one scream before of course)
  • Right : Auditory Remembered. Kalinka-Kalinka-Kalinka Moya, hey!
  • Down and to the Left : Kinesthetic. What did it feel like when you last got a paper cut?
  • Down and to the Right : Internal Dialogue. Talking to yourself. What should I do now? Where should I go?

Trying it out.

See if it works for you! Or better yet, ask a friend or family member questions and look at the outcome.

The party trick I use is as follows. I ask the person chosen to remember three different experiences and picture them;

  1. A photo a person
  2. A song they love
  3. A feeling of pain (burning seems to work well)

Whe they have chosen I ask them to discard two of the memories. I then ask them to focus intently on the remaining memory (as I study their eye movements). Some people will look at you in the eyes as they think, and will ruin the effect. Try to get them to look away.

If they chose 1. They moved their eyes up. 2. To the side. 3. Down.


Lie detection: Ask them about a memory. What did you do at your friend's house last night? If their eyes move up and to the left, they are entering the realm of Visual Constructed, and chances are, they are making it up. If, on the other hand, their eyes go to the right, they are remembering, and chances are they told you the truth!


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    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks bullabongbob! That was one of my first hubs :D

    • billabongbob profile image

      billabongbob 6 years ago from South Wales, UK

      I've both been caught telling fibs and detected them in others using this technique. Knowing 'where' the memory is being accessed from is very powerful, it can tell you a lot about a person.

      Another great hub thooghun :D

    • Davorunner profile image

      Davorunner 7 years ago from Australia

      Very well explained. Good article - but oh man NLP ... for Dummies?!?! I must get a copy!

      Do you know that surprisingly this works in actual written or spoken language too. What I mean by that is that the choice of the words people use to describe something, the way they say them or write them can actually give away a lot more then what one would first realise.

    • kaja_mel profile image

      kaja_mel 8 years ago from Saraland, AL

      A very ejoyable read. I'll probably come back to this again.


    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 8 years ago

      Very interesting! This is great to know when dealing with people you're not sure about trusting! Thanks!

    • profile image

      MG 8 years ago

      Hei he sad the opposite upRight visually constructed... LIE

    • Jerrico Usher profile image

      Jerrico Usher 10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      here's how I integrated the link:  A memory you experience in a dream often uses all the senses (sensory data your mind recorded in an experience you had) which is why you feel the dream so powerfully, and if it "feels incredibly real and vivid" its because your dream networked ALL five senses, and you literally experienced the moment as if you were really there.

      If we experience our entire physical world through the data generated from sensory stimulation then literally you WERE there.

      Interesting to note also is that our brains have this interesting way of editing and splicing memory sets (all memories of sensory data are not recorded as one file/experience so to speak.

      Each stimulation type is recorded separately and networked together to recreate the experience.

      (where the link is plugged in to this hub here)

      An interesting hub that shows how we can use this information to our advantage is ((( Link))))->Detecting Lies with NLP.

    • Jerrico Usher profile image

      Jerrico Usher 10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I linked to this hub from my "Decoding Nostalgia" hub to show how memories are recorded seperately (the different senses).. This is a great hub!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 10 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Cool hub! I love NLP, read the classic Frog Into Princes years ago, and also Anthony Robbins' books.

    • profile image

      Iðunn 10 years ago

      auragem put up a wonderful poem that touched on that... elegy to dialup, something like that. you might take a peek if you hadn't already. :)

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 10 years ago from Rome, Italy

      THank you for you insight as usual!

    • profile image

      Iðunn 10 years ago

      interesting hub, and one great reason to prefer 'real life' interaction.

      what I keep hearing on message boards is "we don't care if other posters are real or not". the internet seems often to be a world of psuedo-friendships based on illusions, in many cases.

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 10 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thank you Compu and Shelly!

      I'm having trouble with a lot of N.L.P fundamentals. I agree they are fantastic, and I certainly see the logic behind them. For now, I'm sticking to the practical uses. Flirting is a fantastic way in becoming aware of many NLP concepts, since so much of the language is non-verbal.

      I'm still an NLP fledgling though. But it's a lot of fun!

    • Shelly McRae profile image

      Shelly McRae 10 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I remember the first time I read the book Frogs into Princes. The authors offered such  fantastic ideas in psychological methodologies. I still have my copy, bought in 1986.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

      Woohoo..great tips.. I shall test them out prompt!!


    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 10 years ago from Sydney

      I have read a book on the subject and I believe there is something in it

      Thank you

    • Mark Knowles profile image

      Mark Knowles 10 years ago

      LOL. I was pro poker player for several years. Thanks for the tip.

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 10 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Good observation Jerrico!

      Yes that would be why people play poker with sunglasses!

    • Jerrico Usher profile image

      Jerrico Usher 10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Mark that's why they wear sunglasses in doors at poker tournaments LOL.. this is great I had a book called "The PHD of persuasion" that went into this, I was going to make a CD that taught people to pay attention by subliminally memorizing the cues while they listented to meditative music.. never got around to it.. I have another great book called Never be lied to again- Lieberman this guy trains CIA, FBI etc on body language etc. the book is facinating and give you amazing insight!

    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 10 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thank you all! Visual Accessing queues are but a small part of NLP.

      Dennis: As an interviewer or particulary as an interviewee, NLP can be a powerful manipulation tool (lol). You've porbably heard of creating rapport with someone, which is NLP. Playing with body language (mirroring someone for instance).

      Mark: Nope, wish I did though :)

      Chewingvampire: Your left and your right, if you are left handed, its the other way around. Thanks for the comments!

    • chewingvampire profile image

      chewingvampire 10 years ago from psasadena

      thatz ex told me abt this before...but my question is, whose left and whose right? mine or the person watching me?

    • Mark Knowles profile image

      Mark Knowles 10 years ago

      Wow, great hub. I will have to remember not to try to lie to you. Do you play poker?

    • Dennis Freire profile image

      Dennis Freire 10 years ago

      Left, constructed. Right, remembered. Left, constructed. Right, remembered. Thoog, what does it mean when my eyes pan up and to the left as I try to remember the visual accessing queues?

      Just kidding... This is good stuff, from both sides of the camera, so to speak. Good to know as an observer or interviewer, but nice to remember when being observed or interviewed.

      Left, constructed. Right, remembered. Left, constructed. Right, rememebered.

      Good work!