An X-ray Machine for the Mind

October 6, 2012
Jaap Hollander

MindSonar is a new kind of psychological measurement. It measures how people think (their NLP Meta Programs) and what they find important (their Graves Drives). This, in turn, determines how they feel, what they notice or ignore, and what they do or don’t do.

MindSonar – and this is different from most other psychological measurements – assumes that people will have different thinking styles (Meta Profiles) in different situations, and that people can change the way they think.

MindSonar is used worldwide by consultants, trainers and coaches in many prestigious organizations.

MindSonar is web based, but is used exclusively by trained professionals.

MindSonar measures:
1. Meta Programs (= the thinking style).
2. Criteria (= the values; what someone finds important).
3. Hierarchy of criteria (= what is most important, what comes next, and so on).
4. Type of criteria (= the kind of values).

What are Meta Programs?
Meta Programs – a term from Neuro-Linguistic Programming – are trends in human thinking. So, for instance, if I tend to think a lot about small details, then ‘specific’ would be one of my Meta Programs. And if I also focus on what I want to achieve, then ‘towards’ would be another one. A Meta Profile is a combination of Meta Programs. So ‘specific’ plus ‘towards’ would be a simple Meta Profile. MindSonar measures 13 different Meta Programs. Another word for Meta Profile is ‘Thinking Style’.

What do we mean when we say ‘Thinking’?
In MindSonar, the word ‘thinking’ refers to self-talk, images, feelings (emotions and sensations), what is important (criteria and values), and what is true (beliefs or convictions).

It is assumed that someone’s Meta Programs and criteria will be different in different situations. For instance, when someone is leading a team, he or she may be thinking completely differently from when they are playing with their children. Therefore MindSonar always measures someone’s thinking style for a specific context.

Where does the Name MindSonar come from?
The term ‘MindSonar’ uses physical sonar technology as an analogy. Sonar shows us objects that cannot be seen by observing the surface of the water, and sonar requires an expert to understand the exact nature of those objects. Both elements in this description are important; the idea of looking below the surface of language and behavior, as well as the fact that it takes a trained professional to read the instrument well.

Name History
Until 2002, MindSonar was called ‘Meta Profile Analysis’ (MPA). In Romanic languages (like French or Spanish) this was spelled ‘AMP’, rather than ‘MPA’. The name was changed to MindSonar. In the US this sounded too technical. Therefore the current branding is:

  • Brand Name: MindSonar
  • Sub Title: Meta Profile Analysis
  • Tag line: Getting to the Heart of Your Thinking


[quote id=”Graves_Quote”  author_name=”Dr. Clare W. Graves” author_description=”Founder of Graves Value Theory” author_image=”” size=”small” style=”solid”]“Those who have tried to develop instruments have based them on what people think, do or believe, which is not the proper base for assessment devices. They should be based not on what the person thinks but how he thinks, not on what people do or what they believe but how they do what they do, and how they believe that which they do believe”


MindSonar Central is in The Netherlands

About the author 

Jaap Hollander

Psychologist, living in the Netherlands. Founded MindSonar in 1995. Working as a trainer, coach and therapist as well as being director of the IEP, the Institute for Eclectic Psychology. Has written 10 books on NLP and Provocative Coaching. Most recent book: "Provocative Coaching" (English), fall 2012 (Crown House) available from Amazon.

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  1. MindSonar is a wonderful technology .. one of the most successful in its genre ..

    I am trying to study it for my project .. it really can help a lot , lot of people ..

  2. When my attitude towards training changes,

    MindSonar is what my coach uses .. to really understand me ..

    he is more successful and actually pins down my problem with mindsonar .. than by talking with me alone ..

  3. Mind Sonar, is a very innovative concept, which may prove to be instrumental in growth of various institutions, while selecting, recruiting, training their employees.

  4. MindSonar is a new kind of psychological measurement. It assumes that people will have different thinking styles in different situations, and that they can change how they think.

  5. Wow. That gave a lot more insight as to what you at MindSonar do and believe. How do you apply it though? Is it for personal coaching, or do you coach big businesses about consumer habits and “MindSonar” as well? I’m just curious about your real world application of this wonderful technology.

  6. As a business owner, dealing and interacting with other people is pretty much the #1 skill required to stay profitable and maintain a positive reputation. Using this MindSonar to be able to recognize different people’s methods of thought and then structure our interactions to increase effectiveness and comfort levels would definitely be useful in almost every part of business. Definitely looking into this further.

  7. I can definitely see where this would have great applications in the field of business, recruiting and even sales marketing. Being able to use this type of program to recognize motivations and thought processes will assist in helping to discern methods for advancement. Very interesting site.

  8. I’ve read some about Neurolinguistic Programming before and determining how people think and the methods their minds use to interact and do things. It’s a bit confusing to me still, but I can definitely see the potential for great help and development with this type of program.

  9. How would I use it? All the time and in nearly everything I do, especially when I have to hire people to work at my shop. Knowing how people trigger themselves to action and knowing what would motivate them would really help me maintain a more positive working environment for everyone it seems like.

  10. This sounds like a much more accessible method for utilizing NLP in every day life situations. It can be a very complex and often confusing thing – at least to me. This MindSonar definitely sounds like it has reasonable applications. I’m reading more.

  11. Meta programs are a very interesting way of understanding human mind and how it works, we use them all the time and having to know how they are classified can help individually and socially.

  12. This mindsonar system sounds very interesting, I like the reference to how it affects different people’s way of thinking depending on their situation such as leading a team.

  13. I feel like MindSonar effectively and efficiently comes up with a way to measure our specific thinking styles or “Meta Programs” in an actually useful style where you can use the results for the better. When you think about how complex and complicated the human brain is, MindSonar definitely works to break it down in an easier manner than most. So many options for this wonderful technology!

  14. Mh… I dont know… I’m always skeptical when reading things about “Mind” and experts and stuff…

  15. I took a NLP basic course recently and I was looking up for information on new learning and I ended up here, I´m very interested on how mindsonar works and on measuring meta programs.

    1. It really is crazy how many different levels there are to your mind and brain. I’m looking forward to hearing plenty of more things from MindSonar

  16. I really like the concept of Mindsonar and the fact that it’s expanding… it’s making me feel more and more confident about my investment. 🙂

  17. I don’t know… maybe it is just beacause I don’t know the topic very well, but I don’t trust this new methods… I mean, this can really help people out to solve theri problems?

    1. About solving problems: when you understand how you are thinking in a certain situation and you have problems in that situation, often you can see a new connection between how you are thinking and why you are having that problem. That’s how MindSonar is used in individual coaching.

  18. I have a decent understanding of the French language, and I think naming your brand ‘MindSonar’ is a good idea. It will translate easily into most languages.

  19. I’m considering majoring in psychology once I get into college, and this tool would be so valuable to the field. It is amazing to imagine that someone’s innermost thinking patterns could be documented and analyzed. Thanks for posting!

  20. Yes, I have to agree here too. In this day and age, it’s all about the connotation people associate with brands.

  21. The amount of people this one-of-a-kind technology could touch is simply amazing. It could be used for so many different things in this day and age.

  22. This article has very complex information, so I appreciate that it was written at a level that the average person can understand. It has really sparked my interest in science and technology. Thank you for writing in a wonderfully down-to-earth style!

  23. To be honest, I find this technology pretty scary. It seems extremely invasive to have a complete stranger basically read your mind! But I suppose that as long as the participants are in complete agreement, then it is okay. Personally, it gives me the heebiejeebies!

  24. I love the concept of Mindsonar and measuring people’s thought and values. It really does make a difference to know where people stand and to see how it makes things tick for their jobs and personal life.

  25. The technology is great, though I’m perpexed on why such a cool concept wouldn’t be taken on before this. Oh well. Carpe Diem!

  26. I think the idea of mind sonar is very admirable, the fact that we can now know so much about the mind and what it is capable of actually boggles the mind! 🙂 What kind of uses does this have? Could it make someone achieve greater things or could it be used for people who have had a TBI recover fully and be back to normal, not their new normal as my doctor has put it.

  27. I agree with you Krissy. It is fascinating to understand how the brain works, at least we try to understand it as best as we can.

  28. “Knowing the heart of thoughts” (of a person)… seems like a beautiful way to describe what the measurement of profiles allows.

    I have no doubt that this tool will bring great benefits to many people and organizations in Chile, a country where there is not yet certified professionals (I’m hoping to be one of the first)…


  29. That’s correct, MINDSONAR is a powerful tool that gives the professional a lot of information about the customer.
    JAPP knows this and he strongly emphasized in the course of the training the responsible use of information and reminds his students always use the tool with professional ethic.

  30. MindSonar is a valuable tool, with which I have felt in love since it has helped me understand my different thinking styles in different situations. I have taken the test in three different context (In my best moment, In my worst moment and While I am working) and the value of each has been priceless since it has given me a better understanding of my emotions and values and also how my beliefs can be of benefit to my thinking style or how it can prevent me on reaching my goals. It is truly an X-Ray for the Human Mind!

  31. “In MindSonar, the word ‘thinking’ refers to self-talk, images, feelings (emotions and sensations), what is important (criteria and values), and what is true (beliefs or convictions).”
    This may be the most important concept from the beginning and also a support in the understanding of the entire system.
    Finally an idea that meets “intelligences” and includes the thought the emotions rather than viewed separately.
    I have a problem with the concept of “values”, I preferred use: what in the context it is important for you, “values” refers to the concept of universal values, such as a taxonomic system.
    This is a great find for me, I hope I am understanding correctly

  32. MindSonar is an excellent tool for helping people to understand themselves, interact with others and get results in more efficient manner. As a coach, I’m in love with MindSonar!

  33. Mindsonar has been the most powerful tool I have discovered to give a deep Coaching process. My clients in Personal Branding have told me that Mindsonar is like a crystal ball that shows all their “hidden thoughts or beliefs” and I just laugh because I agreed with them.

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