prism Instrument - Platte mit farbigen, runden Magneten

Mode of action

The effect of visualisation using PRISM has been intensively researched since the 1990s. Numerous studies show why PRISM works.

Japanese Translation: 研究  - 作用機序

PRISM’s effectiveness is based on a combination of several complementary principles. They bring about the qualitative shift in and deepening of interpersonal communication in medicine and in other areas of social exchange. This occurs using very simple means and within a short period of time.


1. Visualisation

We have known for a long time that a picture is worth a thousand words. Moreover, research has shown that visualisation facilitates talking, and bilateral understanding can be improved.

2. Externalisation

By working with PRISM, complex psychological processes are released (externalised) through physical depiction on the PRISM tool. Often for the first time, the observer manages to get a fresh perspective on and insight into these cases. While working with the PRISM tool and the differentiated externalisation of the different aspects of the individual problem, PRISM users can discover a new relationship with themselves and in their life. Embedding PRISM methodology in a professional dialogue enhances therapeutic outcomes.

3. Hand–brain communication

Hand movements and thinking are very closely interconnected in humans. Thinking not only controls the activity of the hands, but hands also influence thought. Using the PRISM tool, this interaction is activated, creative processes are set in motion and new insights are facilitated.

4. Relationship thinking

Using the PRISM board shifts new thinking into the foreground: the topic itself is no longer the central point of the problem. Rather, it is the relationship to the topic that moves into focus. This makes the conversation more personal and credible.

5. Cognitive tools

Researchers have been investigating the interaction of cognitive tools with their users for a long time. It has been shown that not only do cognitive tools help users speed up certain thought processes, but they also develop completely new thinking skills. Both aspects seem to play a role in how PRISM works.

6. Trial and error

Over the years, the sciences of didactics and pedagogy have found that it is necessary to use ‘trial and error’ to master things successfully (‘experimental learning’). A particular strength of the PRISM tool seems to be the opportunity to experience visual and haptic alternatives to a solution.

7. Visual metaphors

Metaphors are central in human communication. They establish new areas of understanding. The analysis of scientific studies into iPRISM (PLOS ONE 2016) have shown that PRISM can be interpreted as a visual metaphor. PRISM methodology is understood as a metaphor across different cultures. It is suitable for problems with language communication and improving intercultural dialogues.