Mental models: An interdisciplinary synthesis of theory and methods

Jones, Natalie A., Ross, Helen, Lynam, Timothy, Perez, Pascal and Leitch, Anne (2011) Mental models: An interdisciplinary synthesis of theory and methods. Ecology and Society, 16 12: 46.1-46.13.

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Author Jones, Natalie A.
Ross, Helen
Lynam, Timothy
Perez, Pascal
Leitch, Anne
Title Mental models: An interdisciplinary synthesis of theory and methods
Journal name Ecology and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1708-3087
Publication date 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 16
Issue 12
Start page 46.1
End page 46.13
Total pages 13
Place of publication Waterloo, ON, Canada
Publisher Resilience Alliance Publications
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Mental models are personal, internal representations of external reality that people use to interact with the world around them. They are constructed by individuals based on their unique life experiences, perceptions, and understandings of the world. Mental models are used to reason and make decisions and can be the basis of individual behaviors. They provide the mechanism through which new information is filtered and stored. Recognizing and dealing with the plurality of stakeholder’s perceptions, values, and goals is currently considered a key aspect of effective natural resource management (NRM) practice. Therefore, gaining a better understanding of how mental models internally represent complex, dynamic systems and how these representations change over time will allow us to develop mechanisms to enhance effective management and use of natural resources. Realizing this potential, however, relies on developing and testing adequate tools and techniques to elicit these internal representations of the world effectively. This paper provides an interdisciplinary synthesis of the literature that has contributed to the theoretical development and practical application of the mental model construct. It explores the utility and applicability of the construct in the context of NRM and includes a review of elicitation techniques used within the field. The major theoretical and practical challenges that arise in drawing on the construct to provide a cognitive dimension to NRM are also addressed.
Keyword Cognition
Mental model
Natural resource management
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article #46

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 96 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 26 Mar 2012, 23:40:56 EST by Professor Helen Ross on behalf of School of Integrative Systems