M is for Mental Models

Mental models represent the way we habitually think about and take action in our lives. It wouldn’t be very useful if we were always thinking about everything and everyone in the universe, so the mind filters and stores only what’s important to us. With this knowledge, we construct mini “models” of life-scale events to help us make decisions and operate more efficiently.

Designers use mental models as a tool to identify gaps in people’s routines and thought processes in order to imagine innovative products or services.

Mental models perform a similar role in the context of relationships. As a dater, you might diagram a mental model of your thoughts before a date to see where your past experiences and assumptions are tripping you up, or to help you understand your own wants and needs.