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A mindset is a self-reinforcing point of view or set of interlocking points of view that are, taken together, extremely difficult to break or change.

More specific definitions are used in other fields. According to Wikipedia:

"In decision theory and general systems theory, mindset refers to a set of assumptions, methods or notations held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviours, choices, or tools."

Donella Meadows considered mindsets to be second only to the power to change one's mind, in her famous list of twelve levers to change how systems work.

Concepts of probability and risk depend very heavily on one's mindset, and usually not much else. The distortions introduced can be deep and serious:

When discussing the philosophy of science or scientific method, the word paradigm is often used, e.g. the mechanistic paradigm, within which, a lesser or consequent mindset is sometimes called mental inertia - reflecting an assumption that mental phenomena are like physical ones.

Some related ideas are:

  • conceptual metaphor: choosing to see time as space or love as war tends to strongly bias your expections of outcomes
  • cognitive bias: if it's your own conclusion, you tend to believe it more
  • groupthink: if your friends seem to believe it, you will not challenge it
  • confirmation bias: if you bother to test something, you want to confirm it
  • infrastructure bias: if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail
  • notation bias: if there's two words for shades of red, you see two shades - if there's nineteen, you see nineteen
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