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Mental modelling: Part 1

Mental modelling
A student, a farmer, and a scientist
© The University of York
To begin it is best to start with a concrete example.

Last week we introduced the concept of a mental model – remember our virtual roomful of beekeepers, artists and bell-ringers. Well here we can call upon these ideas to help explain the concept of mental representation. Mental representation refers to stored knowledge. We take it that thinking depends on operating on this knowledge so as to reason about the world.

And so to our concrete example. This week we begin with three people – a student, a farmer and a scientist.

The following example will only work if you follow the instructions exactly. Consider Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. A student, a farmer and a scientist. © brgfx / Freepik

Class exercise

Study the above picture and keep studying it until you have convinced yourself that you have committed it to memory. The reason is that next we are going to probe your mental representation of this picture.

© The University of York
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Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: An Experimental Science

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