Analysis of the Refinement of Shared Mental Model in Science-Gifted Students' Collaborative Problem Solving Process

과학영재의 협업적 문제해결과정에서 나타난 공유된 정신모형의 정교화 양상 분석

  • Lee, Jiwon (Korea National University of Education)
  • Received : 2015.11.26
  • Accepted : 2015.12.28
  • Published : 2015.12.31


To understand the synergy of collaboration and to apply this understanding to education, an analysis of how a team solves a problem and the sharing of their mental models is needed. This paper analyzed two things qualitatively to find out the source of synergy in a collaborative problem-solving process. First, the sharing contents in team mental model and second, the process of sharing the team mental model. Ten gifted middle school students collaborated to solve an ill-defined problem called sunshine through foliage problem. The gifted students shared the following results after the collaboration: First, scientific concept prior to common idea or the idea that all group members have before the discussions; second, unique individual ideas of group members; and third, created ideas that were not originally in the personal mental model. With created ideas, the team model becomes more than the sum of individuals. According to the results of process analysis, in the process of sharing mental model, the students proposed and shared the most important variable first. This result implied that the analysis of the order of sharing ideas is important as much as finding shared ideas. Also, the result shows that through their collaboration, the gifted students' shared mental model became more refined and expanded as compared to their individual prior mental models. It is recommended that these results can be used to measure shared mental model and develop collaborative learning models for students.


collaborative problem solving;shared mental model;science-gifted student


Supported by : 한국연구재단


  1. Cannon-Bowers, J.A., Salas, E. & Converse, S. (1993). Shared mental models in expert team decision making. In J. J. Castellan (Ed)., Current issues in individual and group decision making. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  2. Clement, J. (2008). Creative model construction in scientists and students: The role of imagery, analogy, and mental simulation. Springer Science & Business Media, MA: Amherst.
  3. Fischer, F., & Mandl, H. (2005). Knowledge convergence in computer-supported collaborative learning: The role of external representation tools. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14(3), 405-441.
  4. Jeong, H., & Chi, M. T. (2007). Knowledge convergence and collaborative learning. Instructional Science, 35(4), 287-315.
  5. Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1983). Mental models: Towards a cognitive science of language, inference, and consciousness. Harvard University Press, MA: Cambridge.
  6. Klahr, D., & Dunbar, K. (1988). Dual space search during scientific reasoning. Cognitive Science, 12(1), 1-48.
  7. Klimoski, R., & Mohammed, S. (1994). Team mental model: construct or metaphor? Journal of Management, 20(2), 403-437.
  8. Lee, J., & Kim, J. B. (2013). What is shared in collaborative problem solving process of scientific gifted students? Journal of Gifted/Talented Education, 23(6), 1099-1115.
  9. Lee, J. E. (2015). Perspectives on traveling according to light source in students, pre- and in-service teachers. Master's thesis, Korea National University of Education.
  10. Mohammed, S., Klimoski, R., & Rentsch, J. R. (2000). The measurement of team mental models: We have no shared schema. Organizational Research Methods, 3(2), 123-165.
  11. Mohammed, S., & Dumville, B. C. (2001). Team mental models in a team knowledge framework: Expanding theory and measurement across disciplinary boundaries. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22(2), 89-106.
  12. Mathieu, J. E., Heffner, T. S., Goodwin, G. F., Salas, E., & Cannon-Bowers, J. A. (2000). The influence of shared mental models on team process and performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(2), 273.
  13. Park, H. J. (2015). Transfer of the concept of light source in scientific gifted students through bridging analogy. Master's thesis, Korea National University of Education.
  14. Rouse, W. B., & Morris, N. M. (1986). On looking into the black box: Prospects and limits in the search for mental models. Psychological Bulletin, 100(3), 349.
  15. Stasser, G., & Birchmeier, Z. (2003). Group creativity and collective choice. In P. B. Paulus, & B. A. Nijstad (Eds.). Group creativity: Innovation through collaboration(pp. 85-109). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  16. Van den Bossche, P., Gijselaers, W., Segers, M., Woltjer, G., & Kirschner, P. (2011). Team learning: Building shared mental models. Instructional Science, 39(3), 283-301.
  17. Vosniadou, S. (1994). Capturing and modeling the process of conceptual change. Learning and Instruction, 4(1), 45-69.

Cited by

  1. Model-based learning: a synthesis of theory and research vol.65, pp.4, 2017,