Der folgende Abschnitt erläutert, wie sich Mentale Modelle und Erinnerungen (Memories) unterscheiden.
„A good way to understand these active structures is the concept of mental models. […] Senge describes mental models as deeply held internal images of how the world works, which have a powerful influence on what we do because they also affect, what we see. […] The concept of mental models differs from the traditional notion of memory as static storage because mental models play an active role in what an individual sees and does. Mental models represent a person’s view of the world, including explicit and implicit understandings. Mental models provide the context in which to view and interpret new material, and they determine how stored information is relevant to a given situation. They represent more than a collection of ideas, memories, and experiences. […] Mental models not only help us make sense of the world we see, they can also restrict our understandings to what which sense within the mental model.” (Kim 1993:39, zitiert in Schäcke 2006:272).
Mentale Modelle sind also wie Brillen, durch die wir die Welt sehen, und unsere Handlungen daraus ableiten. Diese Mentalen Modelle sind nicht fix, und können daher verändert werden.