Neuro-Linguistic Programming – the 1970s neurobollocks that just refuses to die

Yet more genius from Neurobollocks, picking on the classic pseudoscience of bollocks coffee-shop psychology with the prefix “neuro” nailed on the front in an attempt to polish a turd.

My question to all the NLPers … “55% of what exactly and I mean exactly not 54% or 56%, come on, I dare you, I have amassed copies of the original observations, come on, you yes you, no not somebody else, you, I know you’re reading this, I’m tracking you, answer the question, come on, you know really, you do, you know that you don’t really believe it, you’re just conning yourself aren’t you, it makes you feel comfortable, you can pretend to ignore your own anxiety, that you can control the world around you, come on, 55% of what, exactly?”


Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was invented in the mid-70s by Richard Bandler (a psychology and philosophy graduate) and John Grinder (a linguist). It originally grew out of observations made in therapy, and a metaphorical extension of some of the concepts of Chomsky’s transformational grammar. In the fertile grounds of the 70s Californian therapy and self-help movement, it soon blossomed into a multi-faceted set of techniques and philosophies. By the 80s it was being widely touted as a novel therapy technique and attracted some serious attention from researchers. However it was relatively quickly understood that there was no empirical basis for its key claims, and as its practitioners began to make ever more outlandish claims, serious interest from professionals waned.

This didn’t stop the NLP-faithful though. People like Tony Robbins (who studied with Bandler) made incredibly successful careers out of the motivational speaking/books circuit.  Despite this undeniable popular appeal, NLP is nowadays…

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