Mental Models, KBAM this time
I've done a blog before on this, but I thought it might be useful to cement a bit more knowledge with another one. We were discussing mental models as a part of situational awareness, and how it can be a major part of people making unnecessary mistakes. One of the examples that was given was somebody entering a job and being able to see a problem that is clear to him, but other people are unable to see the problem because it is what they expect. another example is someone that is making a mistake, and can see evidence to suggest that they are doing this, but due to assumptions that they are correct they continue and sometimes even exaggerate the mistake. The example that most interested me was the john charles de menezes case that we were talking about, and how a mental model cost him his life, as well as the ideas that there can be correct and incorrect mental models, and the idea of morality as well. the situation was such that the police office chose to shoot him, believing that this would save lives. in fact he was innocent, and as a result it did not save lives, but just cost his one. the mental model was in place because the police had a profile which he matched for a terrorist, and his actions continued to conform to the profile. in my eyes (and trying to ignore morality), there are two ways that this can be seen. a mistake is fatal in this situation, and therefore it is not ok to have any mental models, and no extreme action can be taken without being absolutely certain, and facing the consequences if incorrect. however, the other way to look at it is that if the decision had been correct, a large number of lives were saved, and whilst it was shown to be incorrect in this case, it would only have to be correct once to outweigh the incorrect decisions heavily. of course, this is extremely immoral, but I believe that in this sort of situation, this could maybe be seen as a correct mental model? it's very difficult to justify it really without knowing the exact situation, but in situations where an instinctive move has to be made, I believe that the policeman in the situation had a decision to be made, and was acting taking a calculated risk.
this probably would have been better if I had not used an exact event which we're sketchy on the details of, but rather a hypothetical situation instead. however, it's how I'm getting my head around a few different concepts, so I guess it is useful to me! Try to ignore the controversial aspect of some of the things I've said towards the end of the blog, nobody needs to get into the argument over that situation again!