Can two people be at the same event and have different interpretations of the experience? This is certainly the case for some of us on occasion. You and a coworker leave a meeting with the manager and he or she feels inspired to create a new solution and you have other thoughts!
The different feelings are likely a result of the different mental structures you and the coworker possess. Human mental frameworks can be thought of as a collection of mental models, or simplifications of how things work in the real world. Typically, they do not contain vivid details, only information that is important to recognizing future encounters with an object, person, or situation.
Psychologists explain mental structures as a combination of features based on an individual’s values, interests, and purpose (VIP). For this reason, two friends can be at an event together and have different interpretations of the experience. What is important to an individual is more likely to be present in his or her mental frameworks.
Mental frameworks range from simple to complex. They can be general, such as holding a belief that people are ultimately self-interested, or dynamic, like the various hypotheses we hold for why people behave the way they do in a company meeting.
It is important to understand that mental models are active (shape actions), workable (can be modified), and influence perceptions. In upcoming blog posts, we’ll explore how mental frameworks can be modified to optimize your team’s performance.
Onward and Upward,