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As a  complement to classical questionnaire-based survey methods, we develop and use Cognitive-Affective Mapping (CAM), a new data acquisition method combining both qualitative and quantititative approaches.


 Example of a CAM: Urban heat supply via combined power and heat by means of hydrogen

Example of CAM: Urban heat supply via combined power and heat by means of hydrogen


This merely illustrative example map was created using the software Valence (Rhea et al., 2020, see below) and depicts beliefs and attitudes towards the topic of hydrogen use in urban heating supply. The rectangles, ovals and hexagons are called nodes. Each node represents a concept. A concept is ‘a representation of an important cognitive element, such as a goal, action, event, person, organization, or general idea’ (Thagard, 2010: 79). Each concept is depicted with its associated affective valence, i.e., whether the person drawing the map associates positive, negative, neutral or ambivalent valences with the concept. Positive concepts are represented by green ovals, negative concepts by red hexagons. Yellow rectangles represent neutral concepts. If both positive and negative feelings are associated with a concept, they are represented as a purple superimposed hexagon and oval. For positive and negative concepts, there are three different intensity levels of the resp. affective valence (transformed on a three-level scale from +1 to +3; or -1 to -3, resp.). The intensity of the valence is represented by the thickness of the outline of the node.

The individual nodes can be connected with each other by means of lines. In accordance with the technical terms used in network theory, these connecting lines are called edges. Solid edges indicate a positive relationship between two concepts: the concepts support or reinforce each other. Dashed edges, on the other hand, indicate that two concepts inhibit or oppose each other. The strength of the supporting or inhibiting effect of an edge can vary from +1 to +3, which is represented by the thickness of the edge. Deviating from the original conventions, our editing systems enable further differentiation of the edges. Subjects can indicate whether two concepts influence each other unidirectionally or reciprocally.  An edge can be marked with an arrowhead if the subject believes that concept x influences concept y. If the subject draws a line without arrowhead, he or she expresses that the concepts influence each other reciprocally. Furthermore, participants can annotate concepts and edges. This is especially important in application contexts where the CAM method has to unfold its communicative potential.  (Modified excerpt from Livanec et al., 2022)

Feel free to create your own CAM with Valence or C.A.M. Experiment Light.



Feel free to test! For a glimpse at some documentation, see papers below. More is underway.


Published Articles

Livanec, S., Stumpf, M., Reuter, L., Fenn, J. & Kiesel, A. (2022). Who’s gonna use this? Psychological acceptance prediction of emerging technologies and transdisciplinary considerations in the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/20530196221078924

Mansell, J., Reuter, L., Rhea, C., & Kiesel, A. (2021). A Novel Network Approach to Capture Cognition and Affect: COVID-19 Experiences in Canada and Germany. Frontiers in psychology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.663627

Reuter, L., Fenn, J., Bilo, T. A., Schulz, M., Weyland, A. L., Kiesel, A., & Thomaschke, R. (2021). Leisure walks modulate the cognitive and affective representation of the corona pandemic: Employing Cognitive‐Affective Maps within a randomized experimental design. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12283

Reuter, L., Mansell, J., Rhea, C. & Kiesel, A. (2021 in press). Direct Assessment of Individual Connotation and Experience: An Introduction to Cognitive-Affective Mapping. Politics and the Life Sciences, 1-21. doi:10.1017/pls.2021.31


Book Chapter

Nothdurft, U., Kreil, A., Kiesel, A. & Thomaschke, R. (2021). Die kognitiv-affektive Kartierung des Begriffs „Muße“. In M. Fludernik & T. Jürgasch, T. (Hrsg.), Semantiken der Muße aus interdisziplinären Perspektiven (pp. 127-159). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.


Bachelor and Master Theses


Bilo, T. & Helm, J. (2021). A Further Step Towards Sustainable Development – Re-evaluating and Expanding Cognitive-Affective Mapping for Technology Acceptance Prediction. Bachelorthesis.

Dörr, M. (2021). Eine Qualitative Analyse von Kognitiv-Affektiven Karten - Können Daten von Kognitiv-Affektiven Karten im Vergleich zu Fragebögen zusätzliche Informationen geben? Masterthesis (German).

Gros, W. (2021). CAMediaid: Multimethod approach to assess Cognitive-Affective Maps in mediation - A quantitative validation study. Masterthesis.

Meyerding, L. (2021). Use of cognitive-affective maps (CAMs) to illustrate experiences with chemotherapy in women with breast cancer. A validation study. Unpublished master thesis. Freiburg: Institut für Psychologie, Universität Freiburg.

Sendtner, C. (2021). Kostbare Kisten: Gründe für Fehleinschätzungen der Kosten des eigenen Autos und deren Auswirkungen auf die Bewertung des ÖPNV. Masterthesis (German).


Koloczek, N. (2020). Förderung der Benutzerfreundlichkeit für die Methode „Cognitive-Affective-Mapping”. Masterthesis (German).

Ricken, D. (2020). A Step towards Sustainable Development: Predicting the Acceptance of life-like Materials Systems with Cognitive-Affective Mapping. Masterthesis.


Kreil, A. (2018). Cognitive-Affective Mapping within the context of staircase and elevator use. Evaluating a new method in empirical psychological research. Masterthesis.


Theory and Foundations

Thagard, P. (2010). EMPATHICA: A computer support system with visual representations for
cognitive-affective mapping. In: K. McGregor (ed), Proceedings of the workshop on visual
reasoning and representation
(pp. 79–81). Menlo Park, CA: AAAI Press.

 Collection of literature on Cognitive-Affective Maps by Paul Thagard


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