- article where I stumbled upon the phrase.
The article focuses on Charles Manson and a book coming out in the near future about marriage and family therapy. (Charles Manson Now by Marlin Marynick, published by Cogito Media Group)
(Excerpt of article)
"I'm not enamored with Charles Manson. But it is clear Manson's Svengali-like ability to manipulate other people stems from his excellent mind-mapping ability. Successful sociopaths, con artists, and good liars-people utterly devoid of empathy for others-are usually incredibly good "trackers" because mind-mapping doesn't necessarily involve attachment or empathy. Yes, good empathy skills involve mind-mapping, but people who lack any capacity to invest in another human being can, and do, have excellent mind-mapping ability. They use this to manipulate other people for their own ends. They are not totally heedless of their impact on others, they just don't give a damn (at best), or enjoy exploiting or getting over on others.
People who come from the worst backgrounds often have extraordinary mind-mapping ability. If your parents are unpredictable, emotionally explosive, manipulative, exploitative, drug or alcohol abusers, or just plain crazy, you develop mind-mapping ability out of necessity: You want to be able to predict what's going to happen beforehand. Moreover, you not only get good at mapping other people's minds, you learn to block your own mind from being mapped. If you are obvious about monitoring an explosive raging father or mother, you become a target. If your manipulative, intrusive, or controlling parent knows what you want or what's important to you, they use it against you. Mind-mapping is about detecting desire and deception-being able to detect what other people want, in order to predict that they are likely to do.
People who are excellent "trackers" often look like they can't see farther than the end of their noses. If you're really good, you implant false beliefs to misdirect and manipulate other people by systematically constructing a false picture of your mind in their minds. People who live dual or secret lives, like bigamists, adulterers, and Ponzi-scheming Bernie Madoff are classic examples. Without mind-mapping ability, they could never know how to accomplish their goals or determine when they've succeeded in manipulating your mind."
The entire article is well-worth the read. It's pretty short. The book is due for release on the 30th.
It seems to me, from my experience with disordered people, that they as a whole are generally better at this mind-mapping ability. This ability to see past people and "know" them. What you use it for, however, really depends on the person.