Mental Models LO29483

Date: 11/11/02

Replying to LO29472 --

Leo Minnigh wrote:

> Is a Mental Model not something like "an unconscious assumption"?
> Something one has not reflected.
> For me the geocentric universe, or the flat earth of pre-medeival times
> are good examples of MM's. At present, the heliocentric, or spherical
> earth are MM's. . . . A MM will be a MM, as long as it is not thought over,
> or questioned.

I use the phrase 'mental model' to indicate a particular, somewhat
persistent way of structuring experience, and not just a particular
conceptual understanding. For example, linear time, where time is
experienced/felt as flowing among separate past, present, and future
'rooms'. Although I have been aware of this linear time model for twenty
years, and though it appears less frequently, and with less rigidity, in
my experience, I still consider it a mental model. I have thought it
over, been conscious of it, questioned it, seen it in operation, and yet
this habitual tendency still has some structuring power. It is
accompanied by time pressure and anxiety, time poverty, and the sense that
time is out of control. As a fundamental cultural pattern (that is not
part of every culture), it is basic to most Western experience, and
short-term inquiry and examination will only change it a bit.

I don't refer to something like the heliocentric universe as a mental
model, since this conception doesn't structure my experience in any
noticeable (as yet) way. I have a heliocentric notion, yet it is not
accompanied by any feeling that would limit or predispose my functioning
in any way.

Steve Randall, Ph.D.
Time Management Supersite:
Includes complete time management courses
land: 3867 Oakes Drive, Hayward CA 94542


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