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Mental Models

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Synonyms

Cognitive model representation; Internal model; Working model

Definition

Along with other types of cognitive structure, mental models are representations in the human mind of various aspects of an individual’s lifetime experiences. Mental models are internal representations containing meaningful declarative and procedural knowledge that people use to understand specific phenomena. People can construct mental models in order to explain or to simulate problems, events, or future situations in mind, if no sufficient schema is available. A scientific analysis of mental models is very useful to optimize learning processes but depends on some preconditions. For example, an important precondition is an adequate measurable externalization of mental models. Another precondition is consciousness of knowledge which might be relevant for constructing a model.

Theoretical Background

Although mental models are often considered as a major theoretical construct of modern cognitive science...

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Correspondence to Sabine Al-Diban .

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Al-Diban, S. (2012). Mental Models. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_586

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