Modeling (glossary entry)  

Modeling is the human ability to undersatand, or accurately guess, what another knows or plans to do.

In elementary tests of modeling, a young child is shown a puppet show or television program involving two characters playing in a room:

Ricky the Rabbit is playing with his airplane. Ricky the Rabbit puts the airplane in the toy-box, closes the cover and leaves the room, closing the door. Tommy the Turtle gets the airplane (again closing the toy-box afterwards) then puts it into the closet and closes the closet door. Now Ricky the Rabbit comes back in.

Then the child is asked: Ricky the Rabbit wants to play with the airplane — where will he look?

A younger child (or somewhat older with a condition like childhood disintegrative disorder) will answer "in the closet", because that's where the airplane is. But, an older child understands that Tommy thinks the airplane is in the toy-box, and will give the correct answer. This ability to understand what someone else is thinking is called modeling and is crucial for the development of social interaction skills.

The ability to model more than one person at a time is an important constraint on team size; see here for more on group sizes.

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