Mind-Mapping: A Survival Skill That Allows Us to Predict—and Manipulate—Other People’s Behavior

Our lives are a never-ending series of calculated risks.  These risks often mean the chance of emotional pain, financial loss, or even death. Sometimes it feels like life mercilessly and randomly challenges us but the truth is we have more control than we believe.

Our decision making can be effective at reducing risk and maximizing return, especially if we improve it with practice and awareness.

Chances of a great life can be increased in small ways every day via smarter choices. 

If you manage both the upside and the downside of risk, the chances for success increase. 

And if you improve your high-leverage decision making, the effects will filter through all aspects of your life, as some decisions make more of impact than others. 

These are the ones we really want to get right.

Relationship decisions are one of those high leverage situations.

In my “Red Pill in Love” series I wrote about the need to diligently screen women who may be relationship candidates (Part I, Part II), raising the question of “why should we screen?”

Then I gave you a basic idea of some characteristics to look for in a “keeper,” here, touching on “what do we screen for?”

And now, I want tell you “how do we actually screen a woman?” as a potential girlfriend or lover.

Sure, you’ve heard the old advice, “get to know her better.”  But what does that even mean? Its empty of any real meaning and just about as useless as “be yourself” or “just wait, the right girl will come along.”

Instead of the same old nonsense, I’m going to show you how to take “getting to know you” to another level. 

The Next Level

What if told you it was possible to create a map of her (or anyone’s) mind?   A map so detailed and full of information you can follow it to predict her behavior.  This map would be yours alone, and something you use directly for your own benefit. 

When you can make and follow such a map, its almost like predicting the future.  And when making high impact decisions, such as who to have a relationship with, predicting the future is just about the best skill you can have.

Trust me, any guy who has had a bad relationship or gone through a divorce can tell you: who you chose to have a relationship with and the nature of how you arrange that relationship will have profound impact on your life – so choose wisely.

Whether you’re just getting started for the first time, or re-entering the dating market after a long relationship, the time to learn and internalize a methodical system on how to screen women is now.

Like everything else here at Jack Murphy Live, I practice what I preach. I’ve deconstructed what works for me and this is what I found.

Jack Murphy Live Mind Mapping


How much simpler would our decision making be if we could look into a person’s eyes and really know what they are thinking?  What if we could predict their behavior?

By predicting people’s behavior more accurately we reduce the risk we incur by avoiding predictable problems.

As implausible as it may seem, humans actually have inherent abilities to do just that.

Tapping into and honing these inherent abilities is a process called Mind-Mapping. David Snarch writes about it in his book, Intimacy and Desire:

Mind-mapping is a survival skill that allows us to predict—and manipulate—other people’s behavior by understanding their thoughts, feelings, and motivations.

This is something we all do, all the time.  From birth through adulthood, we are constantly mapping the minds of those around us.  Some of us, however, have developed more refined capabilities than others – and we are going to be experts.  But first, science:

Where does Mind-Mapping come from?

Experts believe high-level mind mapping originates in childhood, where kids learn how to predict an adult’s behavior.  In an extreme scenario, this ability to predict the future becomes a survival instinct.  Imagine a child living with a Mother who is prone to bouts of rage.  It would make sense for this child to learn to pick up on subtle cues about Mom’s state of mind to predict how she will react.  The child observes, remembers, and even probes Mom for more information to assess her current state of mind.  It is a sophisticated process involving many different parts of our brains.

Recognizing different people have different understandings of reality is the foundation for mind-mapping.

But where do children learn to do this?  They aren’t old enough to learn behavioral models and apply them. Rather, they are reacting to instincts buried deep within our brains (more on this later).

What separates us as humans is our ability to use our more advanced portions of our brain to refine, hone, and sharpen our instincts to our advantage.

As I said, this is more than just “getting to know someone.”  It is a coordinated use of your instincts, intellect, and learned information to figure out just what you’re working with when you meet someone new.  We observe and then cross-check that data against our understanding of human nature to come to a reasonable prediction of someone’s behavior.

We all have this instinct inside us, and we all mind-map to some degree, but if you follow my guidance, you can separate yourself and become expert an on mind-mapping and apply it in your day-to-day life. 

Jack Murphy Live Mind Mapping

Mind-Mapping in Real Life

Mind-mapping is like chess.  There are offensive moves, defensive positions, and strategy.  Some people play with a deliberate plan, others just wing it.  But all the good players can look several moves into the future to anticipate reactions.  They build a model in their mind, seeing the results of potential moves before touching a piece.  Experts know what the other player will do five moves from now, based on one probe.  Mind-mapping is the same.  Over time you’ll be able to make predictions based on your experience, as patterns recur over and over again.

For me, I noticed patterns in people when they realize subconsciously they are being mapped. 

On dates, I often heard, “no one else has ever asked me that before” as I probed the landscape of her mind looking for clues.  By asking the right questions, I was doing my best to collect data, the right data, as quickly as possible to assess who I was talking to. 

By questions, I don’t mean: what school did you go to, or what is your favorite movie?  No, a deeper level of inquiry is required to gain predictive ability. 

I asked questions such as:

  • What was your childhood like?
  • What was your relationship like with your father? Do you talk to him today?
  • What is your relationship history? How did they end?
  • What was your dynamic like with your ex?

The difference between mind-mapping and “getting to know someone” comes down to intent.

Mind-mapping is done with the intent of increasing our ability to predict and manipulate another person’s behavior.

Like a forensic psychiatrist creates a profile of a serial killer in an effort to predict his next move, you too are creating a dossier on your girl in an effort to avoid being her next victim. 

Women mind-map, too

Women give a great example of mind-mapping when they “shit test” us.  A shit test is an intentional provocation meant to gather more data. When they do this they are trying to map our minds as they want to be able to predict our behavior as much as we want to predict theirs.  She observes your reaction and compares it against her expectations of what a successful man’s reaction would be.  She pings your brain with sonar, mapping it out for analysis and future reference. 

In this light, a shit test can really be reframed as a “request for more information.” 

When we apply basic game techniques, which project behaviors and affectations of an idealized successful male, we are unknowingly engaged in high-level mind-mapping techniques. 

Her shit test is meant to find out if you’re ‘beta,’ yet your response indicates to her you are ‘alpha.’  Thus, due to your defensive techniques, she creates a falsified map of your mind, which will misinform her decision making in the future. 

You’ve implanted a false belief, a hallmark of advanced mind-mapping techniques.

Yes, mind-mapping has a darker side to it.  When employed without empathy, mind-mapping can lead to successful manipulation and control. 

But we’re focused on the positive elements of mind-mapping which lead not towards manipulation and control but towards vulnerability and openness.  Vulnerability is based in strength, thus mastering yourself is the first step towards mastery of mind-mapping.

Jack Murphy Live Mind Mapping

Four Steps to Mastering her Mind


Mind-mapping is partially based on your own self-confidence.  When we are asking probing questions we can potentially receive information we don’t want to hear.  If we’re not strong enough to receive that information, we’ll avoid it subconsciously as we map someone’s mind.

This is how people become “blind” to things others may see as obvious red-flags.

Imagine a guy just starting fresh in the game after a long relationship which ended in crisis. His confidence isn’t high and he feels a little desperate to find a girl.  In fact, his goal is just to find a girl, period.  Thus, his process is meant to find reasons to say, ‘yes she is ok’, instead of finding reasons to say, ‘no, she isn’t worth my time.’

Rather than ask questions about her relationship history or her father to try and understand what kind of woman she may be, our under-developed man steers the conversation towards easy wins like finding common ground on television shows or music. He asks, ‘what did you last binge watch on Netflix’ rather than, ‘what was your dynamic like with your ex-boyfriend?’

If your fundamentals are not on point, your under-developed self will not be able to deal with this potentially negative information.  If you can’t deal with the negative information, you will pretend it’s not there.

Like all of the advanced techniques, mastering mind-mapping and thus enhancing your ability to predict the future is predicated on your own self-mastery first.

Master your basics and master her in turn.

To learn how to do this read: Build a Better Life: 3 Fundamentals to Change Your World Forever


Simply being aware of mind-mapping as a phenomenon will increase your ability to harness it for your benefit.  Reading this article is the first step in the process. 

Now that you’ve been alerted to this natural instinct we have, you will begin to see it happening all around you. 

You will start to notice when people ask you a leading question, leaving you to wonder, just what are they getting at here?  As you pick up on this feeling, you’ll go a few moves into the future to try and predict what she is really looking for.  And if you want her to know the real answer, you’ll give her morsels leading the way to the truth.  Alternatively, you might disguise your true position and lead her astray, implanting a false belief. 

One way to become an expert at mind-mapping is to be aware of when someone does it to you.

A girl you’ve just met may ask a question like, “what have you been up to this summer?”  On the surface, it feels like innocuous small talk, but underpinning it is her desire to figure out who you are, what you’ve been doing, what drives you, what are your obligations, who are you dating, and just what kind of man are you?

For me, when I was still building my foundation, I didn’t have the confidence to answer even a simple question like that with complete honesty.  I was worried potential girlfriends or sex partners wouldn’t accept the fact I had children, or wouldn’t be cool with my non-monogamous lifestyle.

Instead of telling the truth, I created a different reality in her head with my answers. 

Heading her off at the pass, I would take the conversation somewhere I wanted it to go, by responding with something like, “oh you know, pool, fun, and friends – what else?”  All true, but hardly the entire picture.  Defensive mind-mapping techniques allowed me to see her strategy several moves into the future and manipulate the conversation towards things which showed me in a more favorable light.

This is a position of weakness, had my core been solid I would have taken us to the truth (I spent a lot of time with my kids and my other girlfriends). Instead, my weakness delayed our moment of understanding.  What she could have learned today, she will likely learn now weeks or months from now.  I set myself up for more risk, more drama, and more stress.  This is “what not to do.”

Remember, mind-mapping is observation and analysis with the intent of predicting and manipulating the behaviors of others.  Our goal in utilizing it is to reduce our risk, reduce our stress, and to eliminate drama.

Your awareness will feed on itself, allowing you to improve your skills quickly.


Now that you’ve got this data and can see how to obtain it, what do you do with it once you get it?

Higher level mind-mapping involves cross-checking the data we observe in others against our understanding of human behavior and motivations. 

For me, I’ve built my understanding of human behavior by reading and through experience. Learning game, reading “red pill” authors, and adopting a “seeker’s” mindset has improved my understanding of women and myself beyond that of the average person.

Red pill authors, game writers, and other manosphere figures have hashed out a new understanding of women that cuts through the manipulative misinformation we’re taught as children.  By reading Rollo TomasiRoissy, Cernovich, and others I’ve acquired the framework I use to cross check my mind-mapping observations against what I know to be the reality.

Does she say she never wants kids but is only 20 years old?  We know women change and evolve a lot in their 20’s. We also know baby rabies is real and increases as they get older, peaking in their 30’s and even 40’s.  Our understanding of human nature should cancel out her naive statement made at 20.

Remember, our goal with mind-mapping is to develop the ability to make predictions of people’s behavior. 

Enhance your data collection and cross-check it against what you know to be true. Read more, observe more, learn more, and your mind-reading powers will evolve.

Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you know her better than she knows herself.

Look for her frustration as she realizes this to be true.

Jack Murphy Live Mind Mapping

Mind-mapping is like having a crystal ball to see the future.

Bonus tip:

Women can tell when you’re mapping their mind.  It may not be conscious, but they can feel it when you’re surveying their mental and emotional landscape in order to predict their behavior. 

Because they can sense it, simply engaging in this process can filter out undesirable women.   

Confident self-assured women get turned on and intrigued when they meet a man with this capability.  You’re signaling to them your own strength, your confidence, and self-mastery – all of which excite them. Additionally, you’re giving them a chance to engage in a high-level mental dance, whether they know it or not.  Strong women like strong men. 

Alternatively, being mind-mapped scares the shit out of the weak ones.  They quickly realize they won’t be able to fool you.  Weak minded women need even more weak minded men.  Once they realize you’re not weak, they will move on and save you the hassle.

Strengthen this skill.   You will repel lesser women and attract ones with emotional maturity.


The last piece to mastering mind-mapping is trusting your gut.  Mind-mapping comes from two places within the brain.  Not only is it an intellectual exercise conducted with the neocortex (the part of the brain which gives us the ability for higher order thinking), but it also comes from the reptilian part of our brain which is the oldest and controls things like breathing, heartbeat, and visual tracking. 

Jack Murphy Live Mind Mapping

Studies have shown activity in both portions of the brain while mind-mapping is occurring.

This means we share an instinct with lizards, snakes and other animals who have the same reptilian brain we do. Since these creatures do not have words to communicate with themselves, their bodies communicate to them through instincts. It is a visceral feeling, and for us it is often identified as emanating from the gut. 

When trying to predict the future behavior of a girlfriend or lover, you must learn to embrace this gut feeling you have.  This feeling is the way our brain gets us to act based on its instinctual calculations.

We must learn to trust these gut feelings as valid, even when they run counter to what we observe with our own eyes.

This is the power we have over lesser animals, we can turn our neocortex towards our reptilian brains and increase the power of our own inherent instincts.

The strategy I laid out here will help you fine tune those instincts to the point of automation.  But you must learn to trust these feelings.

When a girl says something which doesn’t quite feel right, or she makes a promise that seems implausible, trust your reaction. 

You’ve turned your entire body into a mind-reading device – believe in it and watch your powers grow.


When I sat down to write this post, my first attempt came out as an article on trust.  I thought, how can we improve our ability to trust others such that we improve our lives and reduce the risk we face in relationships?

As I dug into it, I realized what I was searching for was not an explanation of what trust is, or how to “open up” more in order to build connections. 

What I found was trust was less of an ethereal feeling of security and more an ability to confidently predict how people behave. 

As I’ve shown, predicting people’s behaviors based on the information they give us and our understanding of the world is a sophisticated instinct we can develop and is more reliable than depending on the overt words or actions of another.

That being said, the benefits we obtain from mind-mapping are similar to those from classic understandings of trust.

Better mind-mapping allows for deeper and more intimate connections with others.

In fact, some experts believe when two people come together with a conscious purpose of allowing our mind’s to be mapped we reach a unique higher level of connection called an “intersubjective state.”  This state of understanding and awareness deepens our connection and enhances the love felt between two people. 

When @the_red_hen and I have had moments where our love “feels like it did at the beginning,” it often comes after a period in which we’ve both opened up and allowed the other to really understand who we were and what was driving us.  A better map of the other person’s mind increases our sense of trust and security, both of which are essential for love to prosper.

Participating in high-level mind-mapping can renew and restore the wells of appreciation and connection we all need in love and relationships.

Mind-mapping is just that powerful. It will it force you to become a better man by mastering your fundamentals, it will increase your efficiency in screening women, and it will decrease the amount of risk you face in your life by avoiding bad decisions and their consequences.

And on top of that, it will strengthen and deepen your capacity for love.

Not bad right?  Now take your new found knowledge and get out there.  Try it, be aware, have a plan and see what you see.  Report back here in the comments with your findings, I’ll be here.

— Jack



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10 comments… add one
  • Timo Fischer Dec 28, 2015 @ 14:56

    Hahaha this is great. I have to laugh because I was doing this for weeks now but didn’t know it was called Mind-mapping. And now that I am aware of it my Mind-mapping can only get better.

    I also realized that a girl who I am talking to is doing the same she’s building her Mindmap of me. Thanks Jack a great post at the perfect time!

    • Jack Murphy Dec 28, 2015 @ 18:02

      Great to hear it. Mind-mapping is something we all do, but we can really sharpen it to become masters. And in doing so, save ourselves a ton of time and energy.

      • Stephanie Dec 28, 2015 @ 18:50

        Perfect timing for me as well. Great article about this concept! It is hard for me to differentiate between manipulation and positve mind-mapping. This article will really help me to sharpen my skills of learning who is mind-mapping me positively or using manipulation….And teach me to focus in on what important questions to ask and questions to look for. Thanks Mr. Murphy!

        • Jack Murphy Dec 28, 2015 @ 19:01

          Hi Stephanie –

          The difference between manipulation and positive mind-mapping is empathy. Considering how your actions impact other people, and caring, will make the difference.

          Also, importantly, defensive mind-mapping is something we do which can hurt us. If we fail to reveal our true needs/desires, we may never ever get them.

          Thanks for reading as always!

  • Dman Dec 28, 2015 @ 15:04

    This sort of mind-mapping tends to occur naturally over the course of a relationship (period of months), so by consciously doing it at the beginning, you can potentially save yourself trouble (or time) down the road.

    I notice that the questions are both open ended (cannot be answered with a yes/no satisfactorily) and high-level. Also, I think with women, the important questions to ask are those of a relationship nature (her relationship with other people in her life). Again, those are the questions Jack advises.

    • Jack Murphy Dec 28, 2015 @ 18:04

      Thanks, Dman.

      Keep in mind, those questions weren’t meant to be read like an interview. You have to be subtle when asking them, gentle steer the conversation towards these kinds of topics. Think of them as themes rather than point by point interview questions.

  • Kitten Holiday Jan 1, 2016 @ 17:02

    “Rather than ask questions about her relationship history or her father to try and understand what kind of woman she may be, our under-developed man steers the conversation towards easy wins like finding common ground on television shows or music. ”

    This is a great point and a frequent trap in online dating where people are eager to establish a connection, usually through similar interests, but then hesitate to move past that for fear that the conflict or disagreement will interfere. It can be so hard to get through the first steps that fear develops over looking deeper. But you can only find out if you want to get more involved or if you can develop real feelings by going deeper. These questions are a great way to start to get deeper without getting uncomfortably personal. They are revealing without “exposing.”

    We also have been led to believe that questions like, “Is he nice to the waiter” are important, when they aren’t. Of course, if he’s an ass, you can get to nexting him, but being “nice” is no prediction of how he will treat you, or others, in his life. It’s not hard to be nice to someone for a total of 5 minutes. It’s much more important to find out how his father treated his mother, for instance.

    • Jack Murphy Jan 1, 2016 @ 18:07

      All excellent points.

      The real foundation for all of this what we’ve been calling having your ‘basics on lock’ which really means a strong sense of self.

      When you excel at being independent, asking questions you may not like the answer to becomes much easier.

      Thanks for reading, @kittenholiday:disqus!

      • Kitten Holiday Jan 1, 2016 @ 18:52

        And for women who, in my opinion shouldn’t focus so much on being independent but instead in being secure, asking questions and not fearing rejection shows confidence that the “right fit” is out there, and it’s okay not to be desired by everyone. I’m a little tired of “independent” as a valuable personal attribute. We aren’t meant to be alone or completely self-reliant. People want to feel needed and therefore we need to leave a little room to let them in.

        I’m reading more! Love your blog!

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