Publications about M-Tool publications (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 introduces 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.

  • Angst, M. & van den Broek, K.L. (2022). MToolR - A companion R package for M-Tool.

    MToolR is a companion package for the Mental Model Mapping Tool M-Tool ( The package provides: a) functionality to load and process data generated by M-Tool b) procedures for common (basic) analytical tasks c) visualization functions. More features are planned. We welcome feedback. 

Publications in which M-Tool has been applied:

  • van den Broek, K. L., Luomba, J., van den Broek, J., & Fischer, H. (2023). Content and complexity of stakeholders’ mental models of socio-ecological systems. Journal of Environmental Psychology, [ 101906].

    In this paper, we mapped Tanzanian fishers' mental models of the Nile perch fish stock fluctuation. We find complex and diverse mental models of the causes of changes in the fish stock. These mental models tended to focus on the causal influence of destructive fishing activities. Mental model complexity consistently differed across geographical regions in Tanzania.

  • Denise T. D. de Ridder, Lieke A. T. P. van den Boom, Floor M. Kroese, Ellen H. M. Moors & Karlijn L. van den Broek (2022). How do people understand the spread of COVID-19 infections? Mapping mental models of factors contributing to the pandemic, Psychology & HealthDOI: 10.1080/08870446.2022.2129054 

    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 investigated by mapping citizens' mental models of the pandemic. 

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

  • Mental models of the energy transition 
    Karlijn van den Broek Utrecht University, Rouven Doran & Gisela Bohm, Bergen University
    This project maps citizens' and expert mental models of the energy transition and the interaction between various energy transition pathways. 
  • 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.

  • 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. 



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: