How to know -how- someone is thinking?


NLP Eye Accessing is often referred to as the Jedi-sword of an NLP Practitioner or coach. A wonderful tool to not necessarily know what someone is thinking, more so how!

In a series of articles, I plan to explain:
1. The history & science behind accessing in plain English.
2. Examples of how to use eye accessing in coaching
3. Eye Accessing – How to tell someone is lying, or not?
4. And in this article, how eye accessing works (Yes, free NLP Practitioner training.)

The below is an explanation of where the eyes go when looking at another person.
NLP term: indicates how we call this eye accessing cue in NLP.
NLP notation: how NLP practitioners write down quickly what eye accesses a client uses (this is useful for many reasons, that are answered in a quality NLP Practitioner course.)

Eyes move up and to the right
NLP term: Visual Remembered
NLP notation: Vr
The brain is accessing an image or some sort of visual memory of something the person has seen before.

Eyes move up and to the left.
NLP term: Visual Construct
NLP notation: Vc
The brain is creating a visual image, something it hasn’t seen before. Fantasy.

Eyes move directly to the right side
NLP term: Auditory Remembered
NLP notation: Ar
The brain is accessing a sound or some sort of auditory memory of something the person has heard before.

Eyes move directly to the left side
NLP term: Auditory Construct
NLP notation: Ac
The brain is creating a sound. Fantasy.

Eyes move down and to the right
NLP term: Auditory Digital
NLP notation: Ad
A person is talking to him or herself. The brain is processing an internal dialogue.

Eyes move down and to the left
NLP term: Kinesthetic
NLP notation: K
A person is feeling something 1) in terms of feeling something on the skin by for instance touching or temperature (tactile), 2) emotion (visceral.)

Eyes straight ahead defocused or dilated (large pupils.)
NLP term: none
NLP notation: none
A person is using the brain to quickly access sensory information such as sound, feelings, or images. Usually something visual.

Soon “The History and Science of Eye Accessing cues in Plain English.”


  1. What does it mean when a person talking to you looks straight down.
    My husband asked me that as he was trying to determine what was going on with one of his managers, who usually looks people in the eye when speaking. However, during a particular disclosure, he was looking straight down . I thought it meant that though what he was saying was likely true, he wasn’t telling the whole “story” and was uncomfortable with the information he wasn’t imparting. Comments?

  2. In eye accessing or reading any type of non-verbal language I would recommend not interpreting more than is actually displayed to you. Just for the fact that someone was looking down, doesn’t mean he isn’t telling a whole story, or uncomfortable. He could be simply just….looking down. Maybe he was looking down because he was going internal thinking about what he was saying, maybe he was disappointed, maybe he just didn’t feel like looking someone in the eye etc. What is something to pay attention to is something called calibration in NLP. When someone displays a certain non-verbal behavior every time they are in a certain emotional state. When this non-verbal behavior displays itself again in a situation, you have a better read on people. That means that you need to have observed someone really well previously. You have to be careful to not use your map, to interpret someone elses map. Meaning even though you may be looking down when you are uncomfortable and not telling a whole story, doesn’t mean someone else does too. Now a clue to note is for a state shift, meaning he starts speaking and also starts looking down. THis is when you need to pay attention, the only knowledge you have though is that someone shifted from one emotional state to another. Another thing that is indeed good to know when someone usually looks people in the eye, and now is not, something is going on. What that something is one should figure out by asking questions. Not by making assumptions. The way to ask someone questions is to make sure you have rapport, and use something which is in NLP called the metamodel. In sales sometimes called the precision model. It helps you ask the right questions, to figure out what specifically what is going on. Now to explain the entire meta model in a comment answer it is a bit much. DUring my trainings I actually spend at least a whole afternoon on it just on the meta model alone, and practice it throughout the course week with the students.

    In terms of eye accessing. The eye accesses in the article are the only ones displayed based on HOW someone is thinking, caused by accessing information in the brain. Looking straight down is not one of them. Meaning one doesn’t need to look straight down to access information in the brain. I accessing helps to find out HOW someone is thinking, not WHAT (in terms of content) someone is thinking.

  3. i have try this before but some of them close they eye when i ask somethink and they hand in they face how abous that?

  4. Actually whether or not someone looks you straight in the eye doesn’t mean they speak the truth or not. Some people lie and look you in the eye, some people tell you the truth and don’t look you in the eye. It is however true, that some people cover up their lies by looking you straight in the eye while they usually don’t, just because they think that people whom tell the truth will look you in the eye.

    Lie detection can not be done by eye accessing alone. It is a whole skill set, combination of language patterns, eye patterns, non-verbal behavior, physiological clues, content relation etc. And even then it is a guess. In the end intuition rules. We take in 2 million bits of information unconsciously at any given time, only 5 – 9 chunks we can logically process.

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  6. Looking down can also hint that a person is feeling guilty.
    Also pay attention to the eye blinking. Some people tend to blink more often when telling a lie in order to avoid eye contact or cover up their lie by trying to look natural.

  7. Great point, and sometimes try sometimes not true. I would really be careful making assumptions that a certain gesture or non-verbal response means something. It is important to notice a state shift of some kind, but stay away from interpretation of what emotion someone is experiencing. If someone shifts states, the information you do have….something just happened internal or external to them that made them shift from one emotional state to another. What you don’t know is how they are feeling, though emotional intelligence on your part can give you the best clue. Someone looking down can mean that they are disappointed, sad, talking to themselves, having an emotional response of some kind….or checking if their shoe laces are untied. Eye blinking can mean dry eyes, people with contact lenses blink a lot, some people have sensitive eyes to the sun. I get asked a lot about lie detection, as I have done the same training that some people in law enforcement and counter intelligence though. Lying is never one clue alone, it is many signs that point into that direction. The most reliable method for lie detection is very simple actually….if a little voice in your head is telling you someone is lying. They probably are. Just gut feel, and common sense, goes a long way.

  8. What if the person is being questioned and when they start to answer their eyes go straight to the left and not up and than when finished back to normal position.
    I think when they start their lying and when finished telling me the truth?
    Is this correct?
    Thanks for answering.

  9. You still don’t know if someone is lying. Just because someone moves in a certain direction doesn’t mean they are lying. You are best off to pay attention to other things as well, most importantly your intuition, their. Meta Programs (patterns they run inside their brain), the level of details they use to convince you, thing that are out of habit, facial expressions etc. It would also good to question them further in rapport, to see if there are inconsistencies. I will make sure that lie detection will be covered more in the future on this blog or on our YouTube channel.

  10. Now is the “left” or “right” designation in the chart, from the observer’s point of view?
    ie Subject eyes go to the observer’s right(equivalent to subjects eyes toward their own left side ).