Attention Direction

A metaprogram in classic LAB Profile and iWAM called “attention direction”. More comparison between LAB Profile and iWAM here [en, pdf]. Short presentation of the LAB Profile categories here [en, php]

The following description is from here [en, php]

“Attention direction”

Whether a person can perceive and respond automatically to the body language and voice tone of other people



Sorting by Self makes up 7% of the population. This filter experiences a gap between receiving a stimulus and responding to it. They have difficulty with rapport; they don’t notice other people’s body language and queues. Instead, the content of what people say convinces them.

Because they have little or no facial expression or voice variation, they often find interpersonal communication difficult. As a result, this pattern is not suited for customer service but does well where technical expertise is required.



Sorting by Others makes up 93% of the population. They consciously and unconsciously receive responses from other people and are good at creating and maintaining rapport. Their body language is animated and responds to both content and nonverbal aspects.

I wonder what would be the connection between the attention direction filter and the literal/inferential speaking/listening style. My theory would be the one described in the following graphic (Please excuse my poor drawing abilities).

(keep reading ↓)

Another way to describe the attention direction filter would be the rule structure elicited on lateral chunking: my/my would tell a person who can both perceive a metaphor and expects another to get it (3rd quarter) or not to make any sense for him/her and either for others (2nd quarter). My/Your would imply quarters 1 and 4.

I will give examples for each of them from well-known TV series.

For example, a good inferential speaker and literal listener (1) would be a person who speaks well in metaphors, hints around, and is non-verbally expressive but does not perceive the non-verbal or subtle messages from others. Such an example would be, from what I remember, “Al” from the “Quantum Leap” TV Series.

An excellent literal speaker and literal listener (2) cannot perceive or transmit metaphors, non-verbal messages, or other forms of communication that do not clearly express its meaning. Such an example would be “Data” from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

A good inferential speaker and inferential listener (3) would be someone who can both perceive the message subtly and control the states of mind expressed and perceived is Sydney Bristow, the main character from “Alias”.

A good literal speaker and inferential listener (4) would not express much emotion outside and would not hint around but would be able to pick up signs of what others use as a non-verbal indicator of their state. Such an example would be Chloe, from seasons 3-6 of “24”.


The communication sort metaprogram elicited by iWAM resembles the self/others metaprogram from LAB Profile: affective communication/neutral communication. Although the identity Compass does not elicit this metaprogram, it elicits a thinking preference not mentioned by L. Michael Hall and Bob Bodenhamer in “Figuring Out People,” the 2nd edition from 2005 as a metaprogram.

The question is whether this thinking preference is suitable to be considered a metaprogram, considering that metaprograms (by my own definition, confirmed by my leading LAB Profile Trainer) are fundamental, indivisible blocks of personality, unconscious filtering mechanisms through which the human brain deletes, distorts and/or generalizes the pieces of information, processing a map of each one’s perception over reality. They describe reactions (attitudes and behaviors) manifested verbally or non-verbally by individuals in specific contexts. The significant contribution of NLP to the study of personality, in my opinion, is contextualizing and refining the good personality traits that, combined, form meta-types such as MBTI distinctions, VALS II distinctions, Satir Communication Stances, Disney Positions, etc..

Considering the arguments I have presented, I have a question for my readers:

  • Do you consider the LAB Profile Attention Direction/iWAM Communication Sort a metaprogram or a meta type resulting from combining the two other different metaprograms?

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2011-present, all rights reserved.

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.



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