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6 Ways to tell if someone is a visual learner using NLP

Visual learner

How can you tell if someone is a visual learner using NLP? This is relatively easy, actually, and during the NLP Practitioner, we teach different ways to detect “how” someone learns. It should be mandatory information for any teacher, but sadly most teachers never learned this (so teachers, pay attention.)

Ways to tell if someone is a visual learner using NLP

Speed of speaking

The easiest tool to notice that doesn’t require much practice is to pay attention to how fast someone speaks. If someone speaks fast, they are likely visual. Why? Because they need to keep up with the movies and images inside their minds-eye.

Eye movement

Another way to tell if someone is a visual learner using NLP is eye movement. Visual learners use the visual centers of the brain a lot. To access these parts of the brain, they need to move their eyes up. When the eyes go straight-up, you will not know how they are visualizing.

– In 70% of the world’s population:

– Their eyes move up to their left: they visualize something they have seen before, a memory.

– Their eyes move up to their right: they imagine something visually.

– For the remaining 30% this is reversed.

During NLP training, we teach eye accessing, allowing our students to understand how someone uses their brains.

The words they use

Another tool taught inside NLP training is: Predicates. Predicates are words in essence that give away what sense someone is using inside their minds-eye. 

A visual person would use many visual words, for example: hear, see, look, vision, visualize, picture, paint, color, illuminate, focus, bright, dim, dark, shady, colorful, photo, glasses, zoom-in, etc.

They may even describe emotions using colors:

– Feeling blue.

– Green with envy.

– Red with anger.

This is perhaps the easiest way to tell if someone is a visual learner using NLP.

Sensory acuity in the visual system

Sensory acuity is your ability to notice finer distinctions in the visual system. To notice when something visually changed in the environment, to see a lot more than the average person, lighting changes etc. Someone who is visual will notice when someone switched out their earrings, and from memory, can tell you precisely what is in the detail of the painting we just saw.

This assumes that the visual learner is paying attention to what is happening externally rather than paying attention to what is happening internally. In NLP training, people often assume that when someone is visual, they notice everything on the outside or about another person. This is really not true; it can be self or internally focused as well.

Using their brain

This relates to all of the above, a visual learner will visualize a lot. They have a rich world of internal movies, photographs. Their imagination is visual. Their memories are visual. And when they want to memorize, they pull up photo’s inside their minds-eye to make sure they have it. They have many strategies that involve visualizations. Those that don’t work, visualizing beautiful but yet unhealthy meals. And those that do work, visualizing what they will look like 3 months from now if they do eat healthy.

During NLP training, many exercises are built around these concepts. As well as auditory and kinesthetic of course.

Interests (maybe)

The following can be deceiving, so pay attention. Visual learners often do favor visual interests like photography, art, fashion, etc. The reason why it is misleading, sometimes kinesthetic learners do these things because of the feelings it evokes in them.



Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning – Peter C. Brown


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