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Journal Article

Preferred and Alternative Mental Models In Spatial Reasoning


Hagen C, Knauff,  M
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Rauh, R., Hagen C, Knauff, M., Kuß T, Schlieder, C., & Strube, G. (2005). Preferred and Alternative Mental Models In Spatial Reasoning. Spatial Cognition Computation, 5(2-3), 239-269. doi:10.1080/13875868.2005.9683805.

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The mental model theory postulates that spatial reasoning relies on the construction, inspection, and the variation of mental models. Experiment 1 shows that in reasoning problems with multiple solutions, reasoners construct only a single model that is preferred over others. Experiment 2 shows that inferences that conform to these preferred mental models (PMM) are easier than inferences that are valid for alternatives. Experiments 3 and 4 support the idea that model variation consists of a model revision process. The process usually starts with the PMM and then constructs alternative models by local transformations. Models which are difficult to reach are more likely to be neglected than models which are only minor revisions of the PMM.