Eye-Accessing Cues: A Window of One’s Soul

When I ask you about the most vital element for an effective communicator, you’ll undoubtedly say eye contact. Typical complaints about people who don’t have ample eye contact are that they are always looking anywhere else.

Their eyes are either looking right through you or gazing at the ceiling. They may always look down or become shifty-eyed. At least with these instances, you have gone through the observational process by seeing what happens when you are in an interaction.

Meeting someone’s stare during a conversation is useful, yes. However, expecting someone to keep a stare without any eye movement could be very disturbing to the person with whom that someone is talking. We don’t mostly enjoy being stared down; it’s annoying.

Rather than classifying eye movements as less than adequate, let’s discover the purpose of these movements.

Try to visualize that your brain is a computer, and your eyes are the filing system. When you try to remember a piece of data or ask a question, your mind goes on a search. While searching, your eyes will move in several directions, reliant upon the type of search. This search is the process for your thinking.

What you do During the Process of Thinking

Right now, try to fathom how you think. Answer this in your mind, not out loud. Recall a moment you were in conversation with a colleague while you were trying to remember the feeling of being in love. How did you remember?

To respond to that question, you had to go through your file system for the data. Either you were able to hear sounds or words, see pictures and visions, or have movements, feelings, or sensations.

Now, if I mention going for a walk with nature, you will imagine the greeneries and all its small details. You think in images.

Some people will recall the sounds related to a walk with nature – birds chirping, leaves waving, etc. Such people have the auditory representational system of thinking as the most dominant one. They think in sounds.

Then there are those people who will mainly feel how the sensation to walk with nature more dominant than they’ll remember the sounds and images. For these people, their kinesthetic representational thinking system is the most powerful.

The way we think is known as our internal processes. If you were to ask a person to answer specific questions, you would also tell how they’re thinking. You would know because you’d be noticing their eyes. External behaviors that specify what kind of internal processing a person is doing are known as accessing cues.

What is NLP Eye-Accessing Cues?

Eye movements as pointers of particular cognitive processes are one of the most famous, if debated, discoveries of NLP, and theoretically one of the most valuable.

According to NLP, unconscious eye movements or ‘eye accessing cues,’ often go along with specific thought processes, and show the use and access of specific representational systems.

The nature of the eye-accessing is in the information that the eye-nerve is the closest part of our brain. Nonetheless, the eyes are known as the window of one’s soul. Eye-accessing cues exist to light up particular corners of our mind.

Now let’s take a closer aspect of the eye-accessing cues.

Observation of Eye Movements

If I ask you, “Where is your happiest place?” you’ll ‘imagine’ the visual images of the place while your eyes are moving toward the upper right direction.

On the other side, if I ask you, “What kind of a place would you be the happiest?” Here, I’m mostly asking you to ‘construct’ the place through your imagination. So your eye moves to the upper left direction, don’t you?

Likewise, the question, “What is your best friend’s voice like?” will make your eyes move to the middle right direction because you are ‘remembering’ his/her voice.

On the other side, if I ask, “What did Will tell you?” Your eyes will drift to the middle left if you have never talked to Will or even never met him but wanted to lie to me.

If I ask you, “How was the desert in the party?” your eyes will move toward the lower left as you are ‘feeling’ the taste of the food.

When you need to decide an important choice, you’ll naturally be affianced in an inner discussion with yourself, which makes your eyes drift to the lower right direction.

The Six Eye Movements and Their Meaning

Whatever direction it is, they all represent a unique function that takes place inside the mind. The following is a substantial explanation of the different eye movements and their respective meanings:

Upper Right, Visual Remembering (VR)

The person looking into the upper right direction is recalling the image of a visual scene. Few people access visual remembered by de-focusing their eyes.

Upper Left, Visual Construction (VC)

Moving up and to the left means accessing an image people need to construct a picture of. There are two reasons for this: either they haven’t seen it before, or the memory has been stored that it’s too hard to remember. When people are making images in their head, they are using visual constructed.

Middle Right, Auditory Remembering (AR)

The person looking into the middle right direction is recalling a sound, prompting something they have heard before. This could be a sound or a conversation, and it could be of themselves or someone else.

Middle Left, Auditory Construction (AC)

Lateral and to the left means retrieving something they have not heard before or something they have to construct.

Lower Left, Kinesthetic (K)

Eyes down and to the left is the way a person’s eye goes to when he is accessing feelings, either internally (emotions) or externally (touch).

Lower Right, Auditory Digital (AD)

This is the direction a person’s eye goes to when he talks to himself. Eyes down and to the right means accessing the person’s internal dialogue or self-talk.

Precautions while Observing Eye Movements

NLP eye-accessing cues can be remarkably precise. However, you need to save a few hints in mind to get effective results:

  • There are a few people who have these reversed directions of eye movements. Meaning, their visual remembering becomes upper left instead of the upper right, and so on. This case is frequently seen with left-handed people, but not all of them. So to check whether or not a person’s eye movements are reversed, it is a worthy idea to ask a test question first (a question that you know the answer to).
  •  It appears that some people don’t move their eyes at all. No matter what you ask them, their eyes do not move! This case happens when the answer is too obvious to search in the person’s readily accessible short-term memory (e.g., “What is your name?”)


When detecting eye-accessing cues, you are discovering a person’s thought processes. All of these, by the way, go very fast. You have to be strictly attentive to the person, or you may miss their eye movement.

Certainly, detecting eye-accessing cues helps us understand someone’s thinking style, but not only that. Through recognizing them, you can also develop someone’s thinking process, establish rapport, and start to work with strategies.