Cover page by Marc McNeill, Lindsay Ratcliffe

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The role of models in the process

The importance of models to the process stems from the fundamental role they play in everyday life. We use mental models for economy of effort (for which read: attention). Attention is one of our most precious assets when it comes to dealing with the world at large; it’s scarce and we use it sparingly.

Take a look at the figure below (5.1).

5.1. Mental models in action.

Image

Most people see a white triangle overlying three circles and a second outlined triangle. But it could equally represent three Pac-Men and three angled brackets. Our brains choose the simplest model available that manages the complexity and explains ...

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