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This trait is one of a pair, referred to in a post on a software programmer's blog. The complementary personality trait is referred to as a packer.
The theory defines two broad and very different approaches to incorporating new information into an individual's mind, and claims that those approaches have a resulting impact in many day-to-day life decisions and encounters.
A person with mapping tendencies receives new information; facts, techniques, abilities, and undergoes a process of incorporating the new information into a personally developed and self-adaptive model of the world. The individual then operates in their lives with the expectation that this model is largely correct, and strives to revise the model when his/her experiences can not be interpreted as compatible with the current state of the model. Each successive revision approaches a more accurate representation of the world for that individual, proceeding in a positivist manner.
It is claimed that mapper behavior can be very confusing when observed by individuals who do not have the mapper orientation. Since mappers do not want to continue to interact with the world when their map is in conflict with their experiences, they can appear introverted at times, or completely engaged in resolving an issue such as a subtle terminology quirk. Non-mappers have difficulty decoding the motivations behind a mapper's actions, and may jump to judgmental conclusions based on what would have motivated themselves to act in the same way. As a result, the non-mappers project motivations onto the mapper's actions which probably do not correspond to the actual driving factors for the mapper.
The theory proposes that mappers are a source of much of the creativity and originality in the world, for reasons that may be related to Lateral thinking.
- Thinking about thinking — Believed to be the origin of mapper/packer theory.
- mappers/packers @ C2.com — Article about mappers and packers
- mappers/packers @ everything2.com — Article about mappers and packers
- blog post — Individual comments on applications of the theory
- Discussion thread — A forum discussion on the theory
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