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Anchoring and the Influence of Skinner

Parts of NLP, especially anchoring, can be seen as coming from the work of Pavlov and Skinner. This is an interesting article on the contributions and over-simplifications of Skinner. Skinner believed that our environment shapes us strongly. In terms of Dilts’ Logical Levels, we could view this kind of conditioning as happening only on the lowest levels, “Environment” and “Behaviour.” The work of Chomsky and the modern cognitive psychology movement has shown that there is a lot more controlling our behaviour than environmental variables (all the higher levels on the Logical Levels: Capabilities, Beliefs&Values, Identity etc.). Still, anchoring is such an effective technique that the work of Skinner is still highly relevant for NLP practitioners today. While we are not just a product of our environments, the anchors in our environment that we respond to on a daily basis have a huge influence on our behaviours. Luckily, NLP offers the tools to control how we respond to deliberate and accidental anchors.

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