Query on term "mental model" LO9720

Tue, 3 Sep 1996 15:17:58 -0400

Replying to LO9656 --

My first thought was that the term is so obvious that there would surely
be many early usages, none of which would be a clear source for others,
and that it would make more sense to just describe groups that had used it
intensively, such as Johnson-Laird and the expert systems crowd, or the
human factors engineering crowd.

But just today I found another citation that made me think that the
conditions wouldn't have been ripe for this term until about WWII. It
would never have been used by a behaviorist, and it would not have been
needed by prior non-behaviorists who dealt with meaning
un-self-consciously. It would surely occur, with some importance, among
early anti- or post-behaviorists.

Friedrich A. Hayek develops the term, in a very recognizable way, in "The
Facts of the Social Sciences", in Individualism and Economic Order. (The
paper was first delivered Nov 19, 1942, published in Ethics Oct 1943, and
the book was available in 1948.)

That's not to say that Hayek was first to use the term, only that this is
the period when innumerable refutations of positivism were being written,
and after which "the moral sciences" were gradually revived.


Kent Myers myersk@us.net

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>