The following M-Tool publications are available (all open access):

  • van den Broek, K.L., Klein, S.A., Luomba, J. & Fischer, H., (2021). Introducing M-Tool: A standardised and inclusive mental model mapping tool. System Dynamics Review, 37(4), 346-355.

    This paper introduced M-Tool and guides researchers on how to use the tool in their research.

  • van den Broek K.L., Luomba J., van den Broek J. and Fischer H. (2021). Evaluating the Application of the Mental Model Mapping Tool (M-Tool). Frontiers in Psychology, 12:761882.

    This paper showcases the first application of the tool with a sample of Tanzanian fishers, and demonstrates support for M-Tool's usability and validity.

  • van Boxtel, W. & van den Broek, K.L. (2021). M-Tool data analysis script. URL:

    This publication contains an R-script that provides users with a starting point for their M-Tool data analysis. The script uses the edge list produced by M-Tool and transforms these into total number of nodes, total number of edges and various centrality measures.


Other ongoing projects that are using M-Tool to capture mental models:

  1. Mental models of the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Denise de Ridder, Floor Kroese, Ellen Moors, Lieke van den Boom, Heleen van der Zee, Maartje Aalders, Jetske Mulder & Karlijn van den Broek, Utrecht University
    How do citizens perceive the development of the COVID-19 pandemic? What are the perceived dynamics of the factors that influence transmissions of the virus and the number of cases? These are the questions that this team of researchers is investigating by mapping citizens' mental models of the pandemic. 
  2. Mental models of the energy transition 
    Karlijn van den Broek Utrecht University & Gisela Bohm, Bergen University
    This project aims to map citizens' mental models of the energy transition and the interaction between various energy transition pathways. 
  3. Mental Models of the Protein-Shift
    Lieke van den Boom, Floor Kroese, Denise de Ridder, Ellen Moors & Karlijn van den Broek, Utrecht University

    This research project uses the M-Tool to study the mental models of consumers in the transition from animal-based proteins to plant-based proteins. The M-Tool will be used to examine how consumers understand the transition and what they think are important drivers. We aim to identify which mental models are facilitating the transition and the adoption of plant-based alternatives for meat and dairy products and which mental models are hindering this transition.

  4. Mental models of climate change risk in West and East Africa
    Maryse Chappin & 
    Karlijn van den Broek, Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development, Utrecht University
    Gisela Böhm & 
    Usman Isyaku Department of Psychosocial Science, Bergen University
    The MECCA project aims to identify adaptation and mitigation strategies by analyzing the gap between stakeholder’s mental models of change and risk and projected impacts of human activities under changing climatic conditions in East Africa (Lake Victoria) and West Africa (Lagos). M-Tool will be used in this project to capture stakeholders' mental models of the drivers and consequences of climate change among fishing, farming, and urban communities as well as relevant policymakers. 
  5. Sustainable fishing: social relations, identity and co-management of Adriatic fishery resources
    Dražen Cepić, University of Zadar
    The proposed research builds on current trends in fishery research: the study of normative aspects of fishing, mental models, identities and social networks. While fishery science in Croatian academia has been based on life sciences, the proposed research project would help establish the social scientific exploration of fisheries as a new and valuable area of research. The proposed research is based on a mixed methods research design, involving a combination of qualitative and quantitative data-collection methods: policy analysis, stakeholder analysis, survey research, social network analysis, ethnography, semi-structured interviews, and focus group discussions. These methods will be used to study marine fisheries on the Croatian coast of the Adriatic. The focus will be on commercial capture fisheries, in particular industrial and small-scale fisheries. However, in order to capture the complexity of the fisheries system, the research will also look at fisheries segments which can be difficult to isolate from commercial capture fisheries, such as aquafarming and recreational fishing.

If you would like to add your M-Tool project to this website, please contact us. 





M-Tool has been developed in the MultiTip project, at the Research centre for Environmental Economics, Heidelberg University.

Within this project, stakeholders' mental models of Lake Victroria's Nile perch fishery are captured. You can read about mental models in this project in the following publications: