Visual Thinking 101_14 How to recognise visual thinking

How can we recognise visual thinking? It is a lot easier than you think! Just watch a person’s eyes. When they are looking up they are accessing their visual pictures, sideways is auditory and looking down is emotions and internal dialogue.

Let’s add a bit more detail. If their eyes are still they are seeing still images, if they are rapidly moving, their images will be moving too or maybe they are watching a video. Visual recall, for things you have seen before, is often up to the left and visual construct for imagination is often up to the right. But sometimes they are just the other way around, that isn’t a problem.

Most people don’t even realise they are looking up and seeing images, it all happens too fast and it has become an unconscious habit over the years. Looking up to see images of words is just the same skill. In fact, when we teach children this skill we get them to superimpose words on familiar objects to get them started.

Looking down to see images is much more difficult and often gets you into negative emotions or self-talk, e.g. I can’t do this, its impossible.

One of the children I worked with was trying to remember the cartoon written on his folder. He was just gazing out into space. I asked him what he could see and he said nothing. I suggested he might bring nothing nearer and he rocked back in his chair as it landed on the window frame. He could immediately tell me all the details of the cartoon. So when people lose their pictures they can often get them back. These pictures are so vital for creativity.

Don’t forget that even strong visual thinkers may not be thinking visually all the time. If someone is telling you they are sad or unhappy they will probably be looking down. Suggest they look up to where the wall meets the ceiling and continue with the story. After about 30 secs they may say “what happened then? Its not as bad up there as it was before!” An invaluable tip. Every doctor or nurse should know this!

If you would like to improve creativity and abilities to visualise do come and join one of my free group coaching sessions to explore mental images.

For all available resources, look up When building on skills and encouraging creativity you will find their strengths increase and learning difficulties reduce.

Click above to book your place now at one of the free coaching sessions.

My name is Olive Hickmott, I am a health and learning coach, specialising in working with neurodivergent students. I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me
Here you will find my learning platform for some of my training programmes and free live webinars
You will find other useful information and Practitioner Training at
Here is my YouTube channel for more free resources:
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of Mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#olivehickmott #visualthinking #empoweringlearning #neurodivergent #mentalimagery #creativity #eyes #video


About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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