Mental Models – Its all mental!!

So I was doing some reading on the concept of mental models. So much of what we do, accomplish, achive, don’t do – well is all mental!

Mental Models have been used in a number of research areas as an effective and insightful approach to studying the behaviours and beliefs of individuals and organizations. Defined as deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures/images that influence how individuals interpret the world and take action (Johnson-Laird 1980; Johnson-Laird 1986). The notion of mental models, introduced to the field of cognitive science by Philip Johnson-Laird is useful in accounting for a subject’s behaviour in various domains.

The practice of describing people’s beliefs and actions in terms of mental models has been used extensively in cognitive psychology and cognitive science, for phenomena as diverse as how people solve brainteasers to how they troubleshoot steam boilers (Orlikowski 1992). The mental model concept has been used in organizational learning research to study individuals’ beliefs about what can or cannot be done in different management settings (Senge 1994).

In the case of technology and organizations “individuals mental models tend to be oriented around established practices and norms, and may limit perception and understanding of an innovation” (Orlikowski 1992, p.23). Too, in regard to mental models and physical performacne much work has been published and accredited with achievement.

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