8 junio, 2024

Cognitive map of boxes

What is a cognitive box map?

A cognitive map of boxes It is a graphic and schematic organizer that structures relevant information on a specific topic. It uses punctual and synthetic data, inscribed inside boxes or boxes, located vertically or horizontally.

The upper box of the map is used to indicate which topic is being dealt with. At the second level, the subtopics are contained in a synthetic way, stated as subtitles. The third level, for its part, includes key concepts or short expressions, expressed in a few lines, derived from each of the subtopics.

Although cognitive box maps usually have three levels, it is not fixed and is flexible; each teacher or student uses the boxes that he deems necessary, depending on the topic that he is organizing.

In general, cognitive maps are graphic representations that seek to capture topics or knowledge, so that people can easily read and assimilate them.

The use of the term «map» has a metaphorical function, which seeks to orient or guide the subject throughout their learning experience. This is why this type of map does not fulfill a geographical function.

In the case of cognitive box maps, the information is presented in a simple, ordered, hierarchical, and sequential manner, with the aim of favoring the learning process of individuals at all academic levels and of all ages.

Characteristics of a cognitive map of boxes

Some characteristics of cognitive box maps are the following:

Shapes used and levels

In this type of cognitive map, the information is always presented inside colored boxes or drawers, located hierarchically. In case of wanting to use another type of form, we would stop talking about a cognitive map of boxes.


They are essentially visual learning tools that operate from the construction of graphic schemes.


They are not the only type of existing cognitive map. In addition to the drawer scheme, it is possible to find the jellyfish, spider web, rainbow, chain, steps, categories, comparisons, honeycomb, sequences, cycles, common aspects, clouds, sun, among others.


They serve to present relevant information on any topic, in a summarized and clear way. In this sense, the topics can be applied to any academic level or field of knowledge.

It is important to highlight that these maps are mainly used for the study and memorization of theoretical aspects.

content selection

This type of scheme seeks to include only information that is essential for a subject, discriminating the secondary. In this way, it seeks to reduce study time and the memorization of irrelevant content.

speech structure

They use keywords instead of phrases, making the process of reading and assimilating information easier.


They help maintain people’s interest in a specific topic, which is presented in summary form.


They use the use of arrows to indicate the sequentiality of the reading and the link between ideas.


They use a color code to differentiate each of their levels and facilitate the reading of the information contained in them.


They give the possibility of classifying, comparing, grouping, defining and discriminating various concepts belonging to the same topic.


They are easy to elaborate and interpret, for this reason, they work as an excellent study tool.


They are applicable as a learning strategy at all educational levels and ages, since they help to stimulate memory, analytical thinking and creativity without distinction.


Its elaboration represents a cognitive challenge or challenge for the subject, since he must develop the capacities of synthesis and analysis, in such a way that he can specify any type of data in a few words or lines.

What are they for?

The main objective of any cognitive map is to allow a subject to assimilate and retain information on a specific topic, through the graphical representation of concepts and data, in an orderly and sequential manner.

In the case of cognitive box maps, these are used to take note of information contained in books, presentations, talks, and conferences. They are also presented as a learning tool that helps manage memory, based on remembering key words and their meanings.

Additionally, they are useful for capturing information in a coherent way, following a logical sequence in the way a topic is presented. Therefore, they are used to study for an evaluation or prepare a presentation.

In the case of a teacher, the use of cognitive maps of boxes occurs in order to present significant information on a topic that will be evaluated during the course, or on which the student must deepen.

Steps to make a cognitive map of boxes

The following are the steps that must be followed to elaborate a cognitive map of boxes:

Define the topic that will be addressed. This can be posed as a question or indication.
Research on the subject in different reliable sources, both primary and secondary.
Highlight relevant data from each of the sources, analyze and extract them in summary form.
Draw the drawers for the levels of the map, locating the title or theme worked on on the first level. It is important to use different colors for each of the levels and join each one of them by means of arrows. To summarize the topic and not complicate it, it is advisable to use a maximum of three levels.
Locate the subtopics in the second level.
Add the information pertaining to each subtopic in the third level, keeping a good spelling.
Read the cognitive box map and make sure it is clear to you and others.
In case it is not clear, review each of the levels and adjust the information contained in the boxes.


Here are some examples of cognitive box maps:

Example 1:

The following example is a cognitive map of boxes of “Assumptions of the project-focused approach”.

Example 2:

The following example is a cognitive map of boxes from “Learning Theories”.


Editors of Tuescuelita.com. (2020). Cognitive maps of boxes. Retrieved from tuescuelita.com
Emerald Publishing Publishers. (2020). How to… Mind map. Retrieved from emeraldgrouppublishing.com
Mind Mapping Publishers. (2020). What is a Mind Map? Retrieved from mindmapping.com
Pitti, A.D. (2020). COGNITIVE MAP OF BOXES. Retrieved from udididactica.blogspot.com
Rovira Salvador, I. (2020). Cognitive maps: what they are and how to use them to learn or educate. Retrieved from psicologiaymente.com

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