In my country neurolinguistic programming (NLP) has become very popular in sales departments. Therefore, I wonder if there are any experiments which examine the contribution of NLP to the sales process. I was especially curious when I heard that Bander sued Grinder.

  • Are there any peer-reviewed validation studies of NLP?
  • Particularly, has any peer-reviewed research examined the effect of NLP on sales?
  • $\begingroup$ When you talk about "NLP", you don't talk about "scientifically reproducible results", you are betting on the placebo effect. Where if the subject thinks it's effective, It'll probably be effective. $\endgroup$
    – Jaibuu
    Jul 7, 2013 at 8:38

2 Answers 2


Section "Scientific Evaluation" in the Wikipedia article on NLP sums up current research nicely:

None of the claimed effects have been validated.

Scientists consider NLP a pseudoscience with aggressive marketing and a name and jargon that deludes people seeking help by "[giving] the impression of scientific respectability" (quoted from that section).


Here are a number of references for you:

The article "The effect of neurolinguistic programming on organisational and individual performance: a case study" (Thompson et al. 2002), is primarily a case study of the effect of NLP training on managers and workers of the hospitality industry.

The article "Neuro-linguistic programming and learning theory: a response" (Tosey and Mathison, 2003), looks at the research in NLP as a whole.

This article, though a bit dated (1984), "NLP techniques for salespeople" (Stanley, 1984), looks at the NLP techniques of salespeople and the ideas are revisiting in "NLP revisited: nonverbal communications and signals of trustworthiness" (Wood, 2006).

Whether NLP can help or harm a business is discussed in "Can NLP help or harm your business?" (Yemm, 2006).

Hope this helps.


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