The use of neurolinguistics in an interview

Neurolinguistics, an emerging field within psychology, delves into the relationship between language and the structure and function of the nervous system. This offers potential advantages to interviewers, especially when understanding the relationship between eye movements and the brain’s mechanisms for language processing. This field explores the different ways ideas and information are processed, highlighting preferences in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic processing.

Individuals develop preferences in their modes of information processing based on repeated actions. For example, someone who associates looking towards the ear with detecting a faint sound conditions themselves to do so over time. Similarly, individuals develop patterns in visual and kinesthetic processing. Understanding a person’s preferred processing mode can facilitate rapport building during interviews, allowing interviewers to tailor their comments and questions accordingly.

While everyone processes information in all three modes, each person has a dominant mode. Observing eye movements during communication is crucial for determining a suspect’s neurolinguistic frame. In visual processing mode, the eyes look upwards, to the right or left; in auditory processing mode, they move horizontally to the right or left; and in kinesthetic processing mode, they look downwards when stimuli come from within the body.

It’s important to ensure that the processing mode matches the question asked. If there is a mismatch between the expected and observed mode, this may indicate a problem and should alert the interviewer. Eye movement to the right in visual or auditory mode indicates “construction,” while movement to the left indicates “recollection.” If a question requires visual recollection but the suspect switches to construction mode, it’s likely that information is being edited or fabricated.

Significance of Eye Movements During Interrogation

Visual Construction: When the speaker’s eyes move up and to the right, it means they are actively generating or supplementing information related to something they are trying to visualize.

Auditory Construction: If the eyes move to the speaker’s right, this suggests they are in auditory mode. This indicates they are in the process of creating or adding information they have yet to hear.

Kinesthetic: If the interlocutor’s eyes move down and to the right, this indicates a person experiencing bodily sensations. This is not associated with recalling memories but indicates an emotional experience. In an interrogation, this eye movement may indicate the person is about to confess.

When eyes look upwards, it indicates the person is seeking divine assistance. This eye position is incompatible with recollection. Conversely, if the person’s eyes look directly downwards, it suggests an inability to recall information.

Visual Memory: If the interlocutor’s eyes move up and to the left, it suggests they are recalling or actively searching for a mental image they have seen before.

Auditory Memory: If the eyes look to the interlocutor’s left, it indicates they are in auditory mode, trying to hear sounds they have heard before.

Digital Auditory: If the eyes move down and to the left of the interlocutor, this indicates the person is engaged in internal dialogue or speaking to themselves.

Unfocused: If the person’s eyes stare straight ahead, seemingly focusing on nothing, this indicates they are processing a lot of visual information at once.