Three Universal Human Modelling Processes

NLP has found that any human modelling activity (e.g., the way we create our model of the world, how we represent our inner experience linguistically, etc.) is based on the same three universal human modelling processes, i.e., Deletion, Generalisation and Distortion.

One of the three universal human modelling processes is deletion, by which selected portions of the world are excluded from the representation created by the person modelling. For instance, when a young boy is doing his homework at home while listening to the music, he may be succeeding in completely deleting the music from his conscious awareness. Also, linguistically, when someone says "I am very sad", he or she may be completely unaware of what or whom he or she is very sad about.

The second of the three universal human modelling processes is generalisation, by which a specific experience comes to represent the entire category of which it is a member. For example, a young man who was rejected by a woman may generalises that all women don't care about him and, thus, may avoid any women thereafter. This process of generalisation occurs in human language when someone says "I have never been loved by anybody, etc."

The last of the three universal human modelling processes is distortion by which the relationships held among the parts of the model are represented differently from the relationships they are supposed to represent. For instance, small children, psychiatric patients and novelists may fall into the category of the people who are good at distortion, in the sense that they create "fantasies" in their own mind or in their writing. Linguistically, when someone says "My husband makes me angry", this sentence may be regarded as semantically ill-formed, because it is to be supposed that nobody can cause directly in another person a specific state of mind. (The statement "I make myself angry, because my husband doesn't care about me" may be regarded as rather well formed.)

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