more models are better
Wed, 01 Feb 95 12:58:57 EST

R. Levi (1/31) asks for arguments that more mental
models of higher variety are an advantage in pursuing a
common goal. Several strains of personality theory argue
that there are a certain number of styles available, and
that you use one when you engage with others. You will tend
to use your preference, but when somebody else is using your
preferred style and you don't want to top him, there is a
tendency to compensate and to use a contrastive style.
Several people have worked this out, but Wm. I. Thompson's
illustration gets this across well. In an anthropology film
there is a four-person hunting party: leader, shaman,
hunter, and joker. The leader and joker, and the shaman and
hunter, don't like each other, but all the other relations
keep the group integrated and balanced. There is expertise
and initiative available for everything that the group might
need or face. The party hunts as a team. Perhaps the
differing mental orientations aren't essential for the goal
of taking down the animal, but a hunt is more than that. It
is bearing with hunger, propitiating spirits, etc. This
theory would argue, then, that a balance among complementing
models is an advantage for a social enterprise. Unorganized
variety would be bad. Higher numbers isn't addressed.

Kent Myers Richard S. Carson Assocs 703 379-5700