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Definition of perception modality

It is said that the very famous (and this is absolutely deserved) psychotherapist Virginia Satir, providing a consultation to the couple, in response to a client's complaint that her husband constantly puts his things everywhere and makes the mess in the house, and when she puts things in order, he is outraged that cannot find anything, turned to the husband of this woman with the following words:

- Imagine that you returned home very tired, even chilled from the cold, you took a hot shower and comfortably lay down in a warm bed. Your body is warm, and your tense muscles relax, you breathe freely and easily. Is it nice to imagine this?

“Oh, yes”, the spouse answers her, “I like it”.

“And now,” continues Virginia Satir, close your eyes and imagine how your wife comes, sits on the edge of your bed, holding a plate of cookies in her hands. She bites the cookies, and crumbs pour under your blanket and cut into your skin. How do you feel about that?

“Oh no, not this. This is such a terrible feeling!”

“Well, so,” Satyr finished, “That's exactly what you do with your wife when you put your things everywhere”.

It seems then they made up and found a common language.

What did the talented psychotherapist do? Satir translated the cause of the disappointment of his wife to the language understandable to her husband. The wife assessed the situation as a picture, as a set of visual images. And for her husband, the picture meant almost nothing: well, he does not care, what the room looks like, convenience is more important to him, than beauty.

This example shows us what happens if the wife is a visual and for her the main information flow is visual images, and the husband is kinesthetic and for him the main information source is muscular sensations. Or in other words, what happens if the perception modality interferes with the relationship.

See, hear, feel

Do you know what type of perception do you have? Here are some simple questions:

• What is more important to you: to be beautiful or comfortable?

• Is it important for you that the hall where you listen to music performed by the orchestra is beautifully decorated, or does the music completely compensate for all the flaws in the design of the hall?

• When you touch a person, does it matter how his voice sounds?

• Is it easier for you to learn the information by reading it or listening to it?

• How do you decide whether to trust this person or not? Do you listen to your inner feelings? Do you listen to how he speaks and catch some important notes in his intonations? Or do you look into his eyes and try to read something important for you there?

By answering these questions, you will find out that your answers correspond to one of the following options:

  • You are characterized by a main sensory channel through which you absorb information. There are three of them, and everyone is responsible for their own flow of images:
  • o if it is important for you to SEE, the visual (or visual) channel dominates,
  • o if it is important for you to LISTEN and HEAR, the auditory channel dominates,
  • o if your inner and outer sensations are important to you, or, in other words, intuition and touch, then the kinesthetic channel dominates;

• You have not one but two active channels at once, through which it is convenient for you to perceive information (for example, visual + kinesthetic);

• You prefer to receive information via one channel (for example, to read), and to transmit via the other one (for example, not to write, but to tell).

If your answer corresponds to the first variant, then we can conclude that you are a person of quite a certain sensory type: visual, audial or kinesthetic.

If your answer corresponds to the second variant, then you can be attributed to a mixed type, for which two feeling are important, not one.

Finally, the choice of the third option says that your sensory system is configured differently for the perception of information and its transmission. You perceive the world using one modality, and communicate with it already with the help of another.

These are, in general, the principles proposed by the developers of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), allowing to answer the question of how to determine the modality of a person.

How is knowledge of their leading perception system useful

First, this knowledge will help you to become an interesting conversation partner for many people who can convince, make them calm and understand. No, we are not talking about the fact that you suddenly become smarter or suddenly acquire psychotherapeutic skills. The secret is not what you say when you communicate, but how you communicate.

Secondly, by being observant, you can detect whether your interlocutor is deceiving you or telling you the truth.

Thirdly, it will be easier for you to find a common language with your children.

Fourthly, if your work involves teaching, training, or counseling, it will be easier for you to connect with the audience and keep its attention.

Fifthly, it is our leading representative system that helps us make decisions.

We offer you a simple way to test yourself using the fifth point and determine which modality is leading for you.

In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes

Was W. Shakespeare who wrote the sonnet a visual? We do not know. But everything that is connected with the brightness of visual images makes a person visual.

The brighter the images that line up in his mind are, the stronger its internal visual orientation is. A bright inner visual is a person who builds complex and bizarre pictures of the world in his brain. Sometimes, they are so vividly represented in his imagination that they are fully capable of replacing reality for him.

External visual prefers to create a beautiful world around him, not inside. What is important for him:

• colors, their tones and shades;

• the size and location of objects;

• consistency of elements in the interior and clothing;

• aesthetics.

So, you are visual if most of the 10 conditions listed below are true for you:

A. In order to make an important decision, you

• try to see the picture or the situation as a whole;

• must make sure that you like to look at the image of the desired future that you have built, its appearance gives you pleasure;

• compare the picture of the present and the picture of the future;

• see charts and tables justifying the choice;

• should consider possible options.

B. You will make your choice if

• you do not see any colors or pictures that darken your choice;

• there is no feeling that some puzzle is missing in the overall picture;

• you understand that the person who offers you the solution is cute and attractive to you;

• you like the picture of a likely future;

• if the solution is beautiful and aesthetically designed.

“Quietly with myself, I'm talking”

If this phrase from an old famous song is about you, if you like to have internal dialogues, argue with yourself and sometimes even hear an inner voice, then you are an internally directed audial. It is important for you to say to yourself everything that will determine your decision in the future.

Externally oriented audials are those for whom sound images and their characteristics are important, especially:

• intonation;

• voice and timbre;

• power and volume of sound;

• tonality.

So, you are an audial, if most of the 10 conditions listed below are true for you:

A. In order to make an important decision, you

1. try to discuss the situation with others;

2. must hear and express the pros and cons;

3. have to ask a series of questions and hear the answers to them;

4. ready to listen to authoritative opinion;

5. speak out loud the strengths and weaknesses of each option.

B. You will make your choice if

• you do not hear serious objections;

• there will be a feeling that you have already discussed all the issues;

• you understand that the person who offers you the solution spoke quite convincingly;

• you like the way the discussion went;

• if you feel satisfied when you retell someone’s decision.

“I recognise my darling by his stratting”

Only a bright kinesthetic could say that!

An internally oriented kinesthetic often even sits differently than the others: with arms and legs crossed, head down, as if constantly listening to himself and his state.

For externally oriented kinesthetics, for example, it is important:

• How to touch him, and what he touches;

• How tense his muscles are;

• What his intuition tells him;

• Whether he is sitting, standing or walking.

So you are kinesthetic, if most of the 10 conditions listed below are true for you:

A. In order to make an important decision, you

• often turn to your intuition;

• have to make sure that nothing disturbs you and is alarming in the decision made;

• must be satisfied with the solution found;

• comparing the options, you clearly feel the attractiveness of one of them for you;

• must trust the one who offers this solution.

B. You will make your choice if

• you just feel that you like your choices;

• you have confidence;

• there is no disturbing feeling that something is going wrong;

• you feel the tension from the search for the right solution;

• if there is a feeling of joy from a well done job.

There are many different answers on the question of how to determine the modality of perception, and there are enough diagnostic methods, tests and methods to figure this out. We showed only one of many options.

But it is equally important, after determining your type of perception, not to dwell on this, but to try to start developing other sensory abilities. Special simulators are useful in this case, for example exercises for the development of figurative memory or figurative perception.


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