Definition of a mental model

A mental model is an explanation of the various stages through which someone thinks of the working criterion of something in the real world. It is a way of representing the world and showing how its different parts relate. Considering mental model to a shallow level, you may come up with wrong perception that mental model is very abstract and have no consequences at all. However, a serious evaluation of the issue reveals that it takes time in our mind unlike the academic curiosities. Our lives greatly depends on these our models and in which their impacts to our lives is to both extremes. This implies that they have demerits as well as merits one of which is the life-and-death issue.

Forces influencing the mindsets and those which Leeds to its evolution

A number of forces influence a mental model of a person. One factor shows that it is important to filter pieces of information in the correct way, failure of which mental model may not be effective. Through the attacks of September 11, we realize that the process of filtering the information considered a number of mental models. This made it very difficult see what would happen in time.

Mental models also go through the process of evolution under the influence of some factors. We view the evolution of the mindset in terms of its ability to change with changing conditions. The same event of September reveals how able it is to shift. When the passengers received information through phone call that they were in danger, they took a very short time to adjust to it. In the so doing, they transformed their mental models, acted swiftly, and actually succeeded to prevent the attack.

How mental model limits one’s decision-making

Mindsets limit our decision-making in one way or another. Although mindsets is one of the contributor of the organizational learning, the person in question will only get limited knowledge since he or she will base the decision-making to a small area. Mindsets may also prevent one from challenging the fundamental models but rather employ ineffective approach of planning.


Ramachandran, Vilayanur S. “Neuroscience: The New Philosophy.” Reith Lecture Series : The Emerging Mind. BBC Radio 4. 30 April 2003.

Greene, Richard Allen. “Affirmative Action: History of Controversy.” BBC News World Edition. 16 January 2003.


The Four Steps

Changing our mental models take place in four steps in which the first step is to imagine what is happening considering the related information. For instance, the driver walking along the city streets had the footstep behind him. The immediately subsequent step is draw memories that would give information related to the suggestion. The driver, because of his personal fears thought of the recent crimes, and imagines the footsteps were of an attacker. The third step is to adjust to your imagination like walking faster to escape an enemy. The last step is when you gain the truth of the matter but still having vague hints.

Inhibitors to changing one’s mindsets
changing one’s mindsets may fail since the mind of the victim may rather discard most of the sensory stimuli because people limit their thinking to what they see. This greatly inhibited the change of mindsets in the airline hence it failed to recognize the possible threats. It is also very difficult to use the mental models in the right way for which reason one may hesitate to change his or her mindsets.

A mental model I would like to change

I personally have a mindset that greatly affects my observation. When I watch a football match, I always take side and therefore concentrate on what my team does. This prevents me from observing the good skills the opponent displays.

Inhibitors to change my mindsets

The most effective inhibitor is the mentality that my team is the best. My mind normally limits my thinking to concentrate on my team. In the so doing, I am failing to use the mindsets in the right way. These are among the potential factors, which inhibit my attempt to change my mental models.


Braun, Kathryn A., Rhiannon Ellis, and Elizabeth F. Loftus. “Making My Memory: How advertising can Change Our Memories of the Past.” UW Faculty Server. January 2002.

Taylor, John G. “From Matter to Mind.” Journal of Consciousness Studies. 9:4 (2002). pp. 3–22.


Consider the five forces described in the text that influence your mental model/mindsets.

Our mental models are dependent on five forces, which greatly influence them. We normally operate on prejudgment to create pictures in our minds. For example, one believes that results must just be as per his or her expectations. There is a case where a tenant believes that some fellows are wrong for which reason he creates such a picture in his mind. The persistence of a strange situation may also influence the mental models of a victim. Strong beliefs regarding an issue may influence our mindsets. This may be evident when religious believer feels that prayer alone is enough for healing. Most of us view mental models to be merely abstract which greatly influence them and take wrong directions.

An example of a mental mode/ mindset I have.

In this context, I will consider the mental model I have to an example of one my common personal experiences. There is a perception in me that the devil exists and his deed is more of harm than benefit. I therefore create a picture of a very ugly-looking creature to represent the Satan. In the real world, therefore, I normally assume ugly creatures devilish.

How have each of the five forces affected the mental model/mindset

The five forces have been greatly affecting this kind of mindset. In this context, I will narrow down the five forces by summarizing them as knowledge, skills, attitudes, dynamics, and environment. The forces work together to affect my mental model almost in the same way and therefore I consider them as co-current. Knowledge applies in that the prior information I gained make me stick to it. For skill, I have to approach my mindset with logics to create a convincing argument. My attitude towards the Satan greatly pushes me to stick to my mindset. The dynamic factors affect them in that issues change with time since the world is also dynamic for which reason some theories tend to disapprove me. Finally, environment that the scientists create tend to disqualify my imaginations.


Thanks to Robert Buderi for reviving this example in “The Once and Future Industrial Research.” 26th Annual Colloquium on Science and Technology Policy. Washington, DC. 3–4 May 2001.

Porter, Michael E. “The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City,” Harvard Business Review (May–June 1995), pp. 55–71.


Mindsets as described in the (4-minute mile –Running the Miracle Mile)

Mindsets are a way of getting somebody discouraged from a given activity. A good runner of the miracle mile may continue to run in spite of being exhausted at first. When a mental model crosses his mind, he is likely to give up. The mindset in this case may be in the form of fear of death while running as had been with others in the history. The athlete is likely to slow down.

We realize that what stops the athlete is neither, the body nor any other physical factor. Our models are therefore potential limitation of our important activities. On the other hand, it may help as work appropriately in the world. This is a potential way for paving way for other possibilities, which block the new world.

Other athletes developed mental models in an opposite direction in which they would like to perfect their activities. This reveals that different people develop different mindsets on the same thing due to the difference in attitudes. Bannister, an athlete, insists to improve his running than operating as the type, which give up due to the wrong mental models.
How Bannister became able to overcome the “four-minute mile” mindset?

Bannister’s was rather logical in his approach in which he conditioned his mind and body at the same time. He operated on the knowledge that the mental strength would rather perform tasks without limitations unlike the physical one. We realize that the mentality of this athlete was rather productive hence actually contribute to his success. For this case, we consider the mental models to be the potential ways of expanding the world.


Black, Jane. “Big Music: Win Some, Lose a Lot More?” Business Week Online. 5 May 2003.

Palm, Inc. “Palm Completes Formation of Palm OS Subsidiary as Palm Powered Devices Hit 20 Million Sold.” PR Newswire. 21 January 2002.


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