Over the years, various scientists have studied the issue of mental models constructed due to perceptions, imagination, and the experiences of an individual. Mental models can be referred to as images and assumptions constructed in people’s minds based on their worlds (Schneider 2001). These mental models consist of images about us, about others, and about various aspects of the world (George 1991). Human perception is usually defined as a mixture of various life experiences and the people’s interpretation of what they perceive (McShane and Travaglione 2003). The following paper describes how my mental models, about my world, can either assist or limit my perception when meeting a person for the first time. Mental models can affect one’s self perception and perception about others. In this paper, it is explained that the perception can be affected by social perception when meeting people for the first time. Social perception is the way a person views others. It can have an impact on people’s first meeting as explained.
How mental models can assist my perception
Mental models can affect one’s perception of a new person in a positive way. Mental models are known to create a social perception about others. For example, when an individual meets a person for the first time, he/she can easily make a personal attribution about that person based on his/her own social perception of that person. If one meets a person in a formal meeting and the person seems to be conscious about time, it is possible to create personal attributes about that person in a positive way. One may make conclusions that the person values punctuality and hard work, because of his conscious timing tactics. This can be based on the fact that hard working people are usually punctual, and love utilizing their time well through strict schedules (Andy et al. 2001). This is something that people have learnt through experiences, and it shapes an individual’s mental models about the world. This perception about a new person can assist an individual in making positive adaptations of a new environment (Block 2010). For example, if I perceive a new individual in such positive way (he is punctual and hard working), it may assist me in forming the necessary adaptations in case I did not value hard work and punctuality. The new individual would challenge me to change my attributes for the better, and this would be through personal attribution of social perception. The individual does not have to tell me about punctuality because by just seeing his behavior towards time, a perception is formed in my mind through my mental models. Adaptation is a necessary aspect in life especially if one is going to spend much more time with the new person.
Also, mental models can assist an individual in creating situational attributions that would ensure that he can make sense of various situations (Wedgwood 2006). Situational attribution states that the qualities of a person may not correspond to his behavior, but some aspects of the in which he/she has been in may be the cause of that individual’s behavior. For example, I may be meeting with someone for the first time. I could be having some description of the person (Lets say it is a new subordinate employee in an organization where I work, and the manager had sent an E- mail alerting everyone for the first time.). In this case, the mental models about my world would be formed in such a way that I believe that people from that region are quite poor and uncivilized. Such mental models with the negative social perception of others may guide me in making sense of my first meeting with the new individual. This can assist me in making clear sense of the person if the new employee comes to the office looking un-presentable. I would know how to handle that person from the mental models in my mind and the perception that I have about the situation in which the individual is in. In such a case, a person’s characteristics are not used to make perceived judgments, but instead, the situation in the environment is assumed to cause the individual’s current behavior. People can use personal and situational attributes to perceive the behavior of those people that they meet (Grabes 2004; Werhane 2011), and the personal attributions come before the analysis of the situation in the environment.
How mental models can limit my perceptions
In other cases, mental models about one’s world can limit an individual’s perception when he or she meets a new person for the first time. One of the major ways in which this can occur is through stereotypes, whereby people develop some stereotypical conclusions about certain people (Starkey et al. 2004). If an individual’s mental models are shaped in this manner of thinking, then it is possible to limit an individual’s perception about a new person. In most cases, mental models may affect first perceptions especially when people are perceived according to their physical features. An example of such mental model stereotype is that blond women love fun and have low IQ, while and people dressed smartly are responsible. Such stereotypes can limit one’s perception because people could be judged depending on their physical features (Werhane 2011). With such mental models, it would be hard to change the thinking and social perception of such people. If a blond lady joins my class, I would be quick to perceive her as fun loving and not associate her with studies and discussion groups. I may overlook some of her qualities that could be true; for example, she could be hard working and intelligent, which are necessary aspects that would assist me in my course work. In the work place, I could meet with a newly appointed manager and simply because he/she is smartly dressed, I would perceive him/her to be responsible and a role model to many people. However, this could be wrong, and he/she could be an irresponsible person not worth emulating.
In other cases, one may meet a new person and form a negative impression of that person based on his or her behavior. People can have different mental models about their world depending on their experiences and learning. Mental models in my world may cause ineffectiveness in perceptions, in various areas. For example, I believe that presidents and senior people have authority and can intimidate other people in the society. This can limit the perception because it may lead to lower self-esteem when meeting such influential people for the first time (Luke et al. 2011). A normal person may have a low self-esteem when talking to such a person because of the mental models formed over the years about the status of influential people in the society. Such an occurrence can significantly limit my perception, and it may hinder me from seeing beyond the authoritativeness of that person. This can lead to feelings of inferiority and low self esteem that may make me not to find the other human and normal side of the influential person. The person could be easy to talk to and extremely humble, but all these social qualities may be hidden from my mental models due to what I believe. Therefore, mental models can adversely limit one’s perception when meeting an individual for the first time. Hence, it is crucial to understand that mental models are mental representations of things and events in real life, imagined life, and hypothetical situations. By understanding this, it will be easier to know the effects of mental models on one’s perception in various situations; for example, when meeting an individual for the first time.
Mental models are usually mapped through people’s experiences and attitudes, and the mental models can be applied in various instances in people’s lives. Mental models can assist or limit an individual’s perceptions when one meets a person for the first time. The models consist of people’s expectations and attitudes towards various situations and they play a significant role in their perceptions. When meeting a person for the first time, it is possible to form perceptions, and mental models have a role to play in the creation of these perceptions. The mental models can assist or limit the perception that one gets during the first meeting with the person.
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Starkey et al., 2004, Our mental models can be an impediment to our understanding a new experience: Therefore hindering new knowledge.
McShane & Travaglione 2003, Most classrooms transfer explicit knowledge that has been documented: Most tacit knowledge and skills are acquired through experiences as well as observation.