Mental Models in Thinking and Reasoning

This blog contains  introductory information about mental models in human thinking and reasoning. It  features regular posts on recent discoveries about  models in human reasoning  – click the  ‘news’ link – as well as information on individuals currently carrying out research on mental models with links to their homepages, and bibliographies of  relevant publications listed by year, with links to where the articles can be accessed.

The Mental Models Website won a Psychological Science on the net award in 2000 for an outstanding contribution to psychology on the internet.

The blog originates from the Mental Models Website developed initially in 1998. It was previously hosted at:   where it had over 150,000 views  . It transferred to this site in August 2012 where it has had over 65,000 views (as at Feb 2016), with about 1000 views per month by about 350 visitors. It is maintained by Ruth Byrne.

The compilation of information for the mental model website pages was originally assisted by
Lisa Fitzgerald, Paul Deighan, Steven Fitzgerald,  Jenny Fitzgerald, Laura Deighan and Alicia Byrne Keane


15 Responses to Mental Models in Thinking and Reasoning

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    I have no doubt that these types of visual images do exist since I often experience them when thinking through alternate possibilities of events that could be. During these flashes of thought, my actual visual perception (i.e. seeing through my open eyes) becomes secondary to the images being processed within the mind. The flashing of these images within the mind always seems to happen within a very short period, perhaps seconds, but it provides a clear condensed processing of a large amount of information that would take quite a bit of time to record. It reminds me of thinking through variations in chess positions. Out of curiosity, I started searching for others experiences in this area and for any “empirical” research that has been conducted Which might give me more insight into this phenomenon when I ran across this website.

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  9. pooja says:

    what is mental model?

  10. David Chester says:

    It is a curious fact of nature that whenever we begin a train of thought, we are bound to model the subject in our mind’s eye. Usually for simple matters, this technique is successful and with the need for sharing our ideas (due to our social drives), the ensuing vocal communications are satisfactory. But with original conceptions and more complex subjects, the model that each person builds tends to become different, indistinct and to mutate over time, so that the associated dialogue eventually breaks down. These limitations can be overcome however, when the parties agree to supplement their words with a conventional type of diagram or to adopt other kinds of graphic illustration. Thus, by the introduction of visual perception, the two conceptual models become identical. In addition, the use of this faculty frees the minds of the participants, enabling them to concentrate on other aspects of the subject that are of mutual concern. It is particularly between technical people, that this essential approach eases the way for the exchange of more elaborate ideas and for their development.

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