Electronic Meetings Systems (EMS) have proved effective for supporting group decision—making processes where the participants have a good domain knowledge of the context. Cognitive maps, again, have proved effective for problem finding, where the participants are structuring a more or less unknown reality, or when defining the problem in itself is problematic. Cognitive maps are instrumental for grasping the value and belief system of the decision-maker(s). They contribute to displaying the subjective perceptions of a contextual reality of decision-makers. This paper reports on a exploratory study where the suitability of an EMS—Group Systems—and a cognitive mapping software—Graphics COPE—have been used to assist participants to construct a reality. The participants obtained facts, but most of their understanding of the reality was based on their values and beliefs, which tended to have a science fictional character. © 1997 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.