social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

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Another reprint from my 2008-2010 blog. We’ll just change the title a little to that given for this post.


… and, having planted that many wild flower seeds in 2009, there is no reason to plant any more; I just let the flowers reseed themselves naturally in the normal process of renewal and expansion.


My meadow.

No, I haven’t lost “it” and this is not a science fiction movie.

With the unleashing of big data, big computing, big temptations, and big greed, it is going to be real tempting to develop a George Huba (or Bill Smith or Mary Doe or heaven forbid, a George Bush) computer model that can fairly accurately predict from my lifetime experiences whether I will buy a new car next year (and what type and in which cost range and maybe from which car dealer), purchase or sell a home, shift from converse to adidas sneakers, become emotionally distressed if I do not have chocolate, and purchase Apple stock. Or run a simulation of me as the CEO of a particular company to determine if I get the job. Or look at my medical history and determine whether it is likely that my grandchildren will have each of 20 expensive diseases that no insurer wants to touch.

Already the IRS runs programs to estimate the likelihood I cheated on my income taxes, Amazon runs programs to estimate the likelihood I will purchase certain books and socks before or after the December holidays, and my credit card company runs models to determine whether it is likely or not that I purchased shoes while on a business trip (yup, they once froze my credit card because their computer model says I only buy sneakers).

OK, so the accuracy of the big data scientists is only something like 20-50% now. What do you think it will be when your book purchasing history is integrated with your job history, income, ice cream purchases, pharmaceutical purchases, and BMI? And then fine tuned with the grade you got in college English, chemistry, or psychology; whether you had a hiking or a beach vacation; if you purchased (used) sunscreen and had a history of purchasing sun hats; the diseases that all four of your grandparents and parents had at different times in their lifetimes. And whether your car is more than 3 years old. And what do you think it will be when we create a generation of data scientists willing to capitalize on huge data to build such models for salaries that will approach those of professional athletes and rock stars?

Ten years from now, the computer models produced of selected individuals will make Mark Zuckerberg, the Google guys, and Jeff Bezos look like rank amateurs in profiling.

[Oh, and by the way while writing this post Google knows that I looked up Mark Zuckerberg’s name and the spelling of adidas.]

I want to tell anyone that wants to develop a mathematical, computer model of me (or my behavior, beliefs, attitudes, skills, history, and future intentions) to cease and desist. Or fuck off.

Which raises the questions … Do I own the copyright (patent, trademark) to my own life? [And if I do, what are the limits and will violations of those laws by a number of countries be ignored?]

This is not so far-fetched. I spent my whole life becoming the person I am. Does anybody have the right to take all of the big data about me and distill my life down to formulae and algorithms that will explain my past and current behavior and predict what I will do in the future? Should people be allowed to model individuals, I fear that the suicide rate will go up dramatically as people find out how much these models can be used to control them.

As a psychologist, I spent my career studying people so that we might better understand their fears and concerns, help them better use their full potential, become happier, control their own aggressive or violent tendencies, and generally become the people THEY WANTED to be. And I, and no other ethical psychologist, struck out with the intent to model the behaviors of others so well that the resulting models could be sold to governments and corporations.

Big and huge data, data scientists, companies, and governments need to be prohibited from violating the rights of individuals to “own” their individual lives. If we ever let others “own” our individual identities, we will have crossed into new territory from which there is no return. The technology is almost there to create such individual mathematical models.

I was endowed by my creator to own the copyright, patents, and trademarks of my own life… and to answer for what I chose to do with that intellectual property (free will). I choose not to sell my soul to the devil.

A few more thoughts are in the mind map below.

Click on the diagram to zoom.

copyright patent my life

Lawley and Maxwell’s book on factor analysis legitimized the psychometric development of factor analysis as a “real” statistical model. Although most now praise them for their breakthrough in deriving maximum likelihood estimators for the model parameters, I think the following sequence of photos shows Lawley and Maxwell’s great insight and most important contribution, received at the time as general heresy by the high priests of factor analysis.

I read this book around 1975. The paragraph I underlined and typed on the cover is one that significantly altered my career: I learned then, and further in the early 1980s, that statistical theories of psychological processes, at their very best, are only weak approximations to reality. At the time lots of psychometricians were giving their professional lives to determine if one blindly empirical factor rotation method was better than another since after all they were different by 3 percent and everyone had just “discovered” Joreskog and Sorbom’s work on structural equation modeling. I never spent more than 50 percent of my research time between 1977 and 1984 on psychometrics and statistics — the rest of the time went into modeling adolescent drug abuse behaviors and their precursors. In 1984 it was time to move on to 90 percent of my work being devoted to real psychological and social issues.

As for statistical-psychology theories, the fact that

  • it’s new
  • it’s hot
  • you can publish it a lot

does not sway me anymore.

Please click on the pictures to zoom.


lawley maxwell 3


mantra of the  failed  academic researcher

[Context: After hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed publications over four decades, I think this is one of the more important ideas I have ever written about.]

I have been learning (and hopefully making creative developments to) the language “Mind Map.”

No, not how to draw mind maps. Rather, how to express myself through developing (which is more than drawing) a mind map in a computer program.

Expressing. Communicating content, knowledge, creative ideas. Summarizing huge amounts of knowledge in pictorial form. Even trying to be humorous with images and juxtapositions of words and pictures.

Why? Not everyone writes equally well irrespective of quality of education. Much knowledge is nonlinear in a world of linear languages. Even my writing style has been shifting to the kind of snappy short words found on Buzan-style mind maps and in length-limited languages like Twitter and Klingon. The language “Mind Map” might be especially useful for those who are not strong writers, those who want to be stronger writers by combining a spoken language and  the language “Mind Map,” those who age normally, those who age atypically, those who suffer from a head injury or brain disease, those who have various language problems, those who think visually, those who get distracted and cannot focus attention while writing in spoken languages. [Research is needed to support or reject these speculations.]

The language “Mind Map” is, for many, potentially “so easy a caveman can do it.” Whoops ….. they did.




Now shifting back to writing in “Mind Map.” Please click to expand.

writing in mind map


  1. I believe the syntax for writing “Mind Map” by Tony Buzan and the translation program iMindMap by ThinkBuzan are the most effective to date.
  2. Probably the best “native writer” in “Mind Map” is Hans Buskes (@hansbuskes). Philippe Packu is also excellent. I think I am pretty good at it too and the theorist in the stadium.

This post does not contain psychological advice. If you are in need of psychological advice or services, see a local mental health provider or ask your primary care doctor for a referral. 

George Kelly was an American clinical psychologist in the middle of the 20th Century. Kelly developed one of the earliest cognitively-based, personality theories applicable to clinical and research settings.

Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory is a proposal that different individuals organize their perceptions of events, social relationships, objects, timelines, emotions in idiosyncratic ways. A personal construct system is the way that objects are clustered together or the set of dimensions along which objects are ranked by the individual. Mind maps are a good way to summarize the personal constructs of the individual.

Here is a series of six schema for grouping animals. There are, of course, many more ways to group these animals, and to explain what the groupings mean. Your way(s) of grouping these animals could be quite different.

Please click twice on the picture to see it at full size. A single graphic includes all six schema.


If you think that there are a lot of different ways to group a few animals, consider the different ways that people might group (perceive) their acquaintances, ethical dilemmas, marital roles, work stressors, and justifications and priorities for spending money. Kelly’s theory was one of determining the personal construct systems of individuals and then helping them assess whether such ways of thinking were associated with positive or negative consequences within the present culture.

The underlying model of Personal Construct Theory is that “Each Person is a Scientist” making observations, organizing them, and using these schema to make decisions or observations that then influence emotion, social interaction, happiness, and perceived quality of life. Kelly stresses that the flexible individual is always seeking to test, validate, enhance, and expand the personal construct systems.

While a clinician and a client can draw diagrams to explain how the client appears to group ideas, it is also possible to use empirical (statistical, data analytic) means to do so. Kelly himself proposed an old data analysis method (P-technique factor analysis); better alternatives using present day methodologies are multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis, correspondence analysis, or ordinal factor analysis. These latter statistical techniques will be the subject of future posts.

The bottom line here is that mind maps are a very good way to visually portray personal construct systems. More about theoretical and methodological refinements in forthcoming posts.

I guess it’s just me … I search Google for sites with “psychology mind maps” and I get lotsa pages returned. Of course very FEW of these pages let you know where the ideas, recommendations, and organization comes from. That makes me pretty pissed off.

I have a simple rule for evaluating psycho-pop, psycho-babble, psycho-art, and psycho-schmaltz: if the author (artist, developer) cannot prove to me that the information came from a credible source and is being communicated by a credible source, I assume it is psycho-fantasy and just walk (actually run) away.

Here’s a few things to ask about before you go ahead and change your job, spouse, running shoes, or haircut because somebody gives you some magic MBTI letters, a number on a test published in a self-magazine, or advice that must be right because it appears in a pretty mind map.

I love great psychology content conveyed in an easy to understand manner. I hope I produce some. Most do not produce anything except profits. Know what you are buying (and staking your life on) when you get information from a book, TV, the Internet, text, or a graphic.

Please click on the diagram to zoom in.

Don't Believe a Psychology (Self Help) Mind Map Unless it Tells You

Irv Oii is known to many international news organizations and researchers as a star data journalist. Being a home worker (although home may be the UK, Ohio, the Middle East, Central Africa, Hong Kong, or Antartica) and a fairly reclusive person, nobody seems to have met Irv. Some speculate that he might be a Jewish Asian-American. Others believe Irv is short for Irvelina, a Russian immigrant physician who went to Ohio (or was it Ojai, California) when the Soviet science programs collapsed and turned into the lower funded Russian collaborative efforts with the EU and USA. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the closing of her laboratory in Minsk. Some even think Irv Oii is an acronym.

Irv is thus an enigma and no pictures of her/him seem to exist. An artist’s conception (mine) based on the writings and consultations of Irv Oii on healthcare breakthroughs is shown below. My belief is that a portrait of Irv should hang over the desk of every data journalist and researcher.

Please click the image to zoom.

Irv Oii

Click on mind map to expand.

academia and  healthcare  big data



Please click on the graphics to zoom.

it's program evaluation,  not research, dummy





A key part of the television science fiction series Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek are the machine “races” Cylons (“toasters” or robots in BSG who develop “human” bodies to house the electronics) and Borg (androids who assimilate new species and technology into their race in Star Trek series starting with New Generation).

People who want to be part machines (like the guy at the next table in the restaurant who can’t put the iPhone down from his ear long enough to acknowledge that his kids exist) are pretty common these days. Does the iPhone want to be partly human? By iPhone 9 it undoubtedly will be.

I write this as I get ready to hook up a blood pressure cuff and fitbit to my iPhone 5.

Veal in machine oil sauce. A cuisine whose time is coming.


Big data this, big data that. Wow. At the end we will have better ways to sell underwear, automobiles, and “next day” pills (although in the latter case politics and religion might actually trump Amazon and Google). Blind empiricism. Every time you click a key on the Internet it goes into some big database.

“Little data” — lovingly crafted to test theories and collected and analyzed with great care by highly trained professionals — has built our theories of personality, social interactions, the cosmos, and the behavioral economics of  buying or saving.

Big data drives marketing. Little data drives the future through generalizable theory.

Click on the figure below to zoom.

in praise of little data

If you can tell us something about each of the areas listed below (when relevant and if the information is available , your mind map is probably quite significant. Click map to zoom.

[Baker's Dozen of] Ways to Improve Mind Maps Purported to Present Expert Professional Content

Note: November 2015

I started writing about the importance of the content in the mind map — facts and important information well researched — back in November 2012. For the next few weeks I am intending to repost some of these posts with my updated thoughts about Mind Mapping 3.0 and what I would now call Mind Mapping 4.0. I will introduce Mind Mapping 4.0 after reviewing some of my views about Mind Mapping 3.0.]

It’s fine to put your own notes or feelings or ideas into a mind map that will be for your use or one which will be clearly labelled as you opinion. But, if you want to put ideas into general circulation as “facts,” you need to have done your homework and tie the information in the maps to established research, clinical findings, and expert opinion (and document whose expert opinion it is, whether that of someone else or yourself). Mind Mapping 3.0 was the introduction of high-quality data into this useful method of thinking.

George Huba

I would categorize the pioneering efforts of Tony Buzan and others to introduce and popularize the method of mind mapping as Mind Mapping 1.0 and the parameterizations and resulting computer programs by ThinkBuzan, Topicscape, Mindjet, and others as Mind Mapping 2.0.

[As I saw it in 2012 and continue to view it in 2015] Mind Mapping 3.0 is the integration of computer-assisted mind mapping methods, artistic sensibility to enhance visualization, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, substantive, creative, well-documented valid and reliable content of great importance.

Click on the figure to expand.

Mind Mapping 3.0

There are a number of things that can be done to cut the cost of healthcare while, at the same time, freeing doctors and others to do their jobs better. These improvements cost almost nothing to implement [if all of the constituencies and politicians do not compete to be King Kong].

Visiting legislator who stumbled across this web page? Here’s your chance to act like a grown-up and represent the people of the world, not drug companies nor major research universities nor individual “researcher” egos and retirement funds.

Click on images to expand.[almost free] strategies to improve healthcare

Cartoon Rabbit - Giving A Thumbs Up

Sitting here in 2013, I am going to be making some predictions about how my own field of Psychology and other disciplines will change over the next few decades. In Psychology, the single most significant change will be the rise of Neuroscience (Cognitive and other areas) as the most important applied discipline. Also, clinical psychologists will rarely do therapy, but like their colleagues in Psychiatry primarily design therapies and mental health systems. One big advance and one big step backward.





Sketchnote Example: My Predictions of Changes in the Field of Psychology Over The Next 20 Years


This is a review of Simple Diagrams 2 for the Mac. Incredible program, fairly priced. Mac only which is a problem since this program would be absolutely indispensable on an iPad or iPhone. I use this program a lot.

The following review was “written” in SimpleDiagrams2.

Click on the diagrams to expand.

advantages ok sketchnotes




sketch mind map

Introduction to Sketchnotes

Introduction to Sketchnotes

advantages ok sketchnotes


Click on the images to zoom.

The fictional detectives would have been great program evaluators. All looked at all types of data. Miss Marple was a model of pleasantry who could work her way into an organization or group and see it as it was without changing anything by observing. Holmes and Watson — whether in the original books and movies, the Ironman version of the movies, their current BBC incarnation in 21st Century London, or their CBS incarnation in 21st Century Manhattan with Dr John Watson now Dr Joan Watson (for the better) — use Holmes’ razor sharp mind and Watson’s intuitiveness and questioning. Sam Spade, wise cracks, an iron fist, and underlying sensitivity.

Program evaluation is not about conducting research, randomly assigning participants to conditions, or using quasi-experimental designs. Program evaluation is about understanding why programs produce certain outcomes, intended or not, positive or not, unique or not. To truly understand a program quantitative and qualitative data needs to be collected with great attention to the sensibilities, needs, risks, and potential confidentiality breaches of data of program participants, program staff, program administration, funders, and other stakeholders.

I love program evaluation. Every program is unique and at the same time representative of certain classes of human service organizations.

Be a detective. Look carefully and understand the beauty of a well-running program and how to help staff improve a program that is not working as well as it could.

evaluation detective work

A Life in Hats

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Symbols bring back a lot of memories. 1951 and being born (literally) in that tiny corner of the Bronx where Yankee Stadium faced the Polo Grounds (home of the New York, now San Francisco, Giants). My Dad told a story of studying for his college classes while caring for me as an infant and listening to the sounds coming from the two ball parks on the same summer evening. 1957 was the start of a life and elementary school in Massachusetts where my grandfather was the world’s longest suffering Boston Red Sox fan. In 1968 I left high school after 11th grade without graduating with the intention of being a physicist, discovered psychology soon thereafter, and graduated from Fordham College in 1972. In 1976 I left Yale after completing my PhD program. The Yale hat is the most important one of my life. 77 saw me at the University of Minnesota freezing my butt off and the next year I was in Los Angeles at UCLA warming it up. In 1980 I received my psychologist license and then went through the 1980s and 1990s as a committed, harried, stressed out Los Angeleno. In 1988 I started my own company and promptly appointed myself president. The 2000s were a time for becoming a committed North Carolinian, relaxing, and learning to say y’all. 9/11, of course, was the day most Americans started rethinking many issues in their lives.

The important part of this timeline is that these simple symbols mean a lot to ME and each evokes hundreds of direct memories and thousands of extended associations.

There is a lot to be said about trying techniques like this timeline to bring back cherished memories that you haven’t thought about in a while. Maybe the right symbols for you are concerts or movies or births or vacations or stages in the lives of your family members. Consider using symbols; a lot of our memories are encoded around images and not around words.

The University of Minnesota hat evokes some really funny stories like buying an ice cream cone in 20 degree weather (probably in October or April) from an outside vendor and walking down the street not having to worry about drips. Or playing marathon games of pinball or the first video games (pong, pacman) with a fellow assistant professor. That California Angels hat makes me think of standing in line from 2am on to purchase tickets for the American League (baseball) championships and then two or threes weeks later standing in line all night to get opening Saturday tickets for the Empire Strikes Back and becoming one of the first to know Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father. Little things, big things, all stringing together in my memory from various symbols.

You might want to try this yourself. Works for me; may work for you too.

Aside 1: My grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease. Any time you put a Red Sox symbol in front of him you heard about Ted Williams, and the damn NY Yankees, and the Green Monster, and the times he took me to minor league baseball games as a kid, and how good (really bad) I was at baseball, etc. My baseball memories of him are those of the years before the dementia when he multi-tasked (in the 1960s) by having TWO different baseball games going on the radio at once (cacophony in that house) and a baseball game on TV. At times he was reading the then new magazine Sports Illustrated at the same time or the local sports section. If you asked him what had happened recently in any of the three games, he would tell you the last 10 plays or so or what Carl Yastremski had done in his at bats that day. And yes, he took me to at least 50 minor league (AA; Springfield Giants) baseball games every spring and summer. And I’m pretty sure he purchased a hot dog and popcorn for me at every game where we always sat in the same seats behind home plate.

Aside 2: If you look around my office or other living space, you will see that it is filled with small symbols that evoke memories (in my case baseball hats, pens, coffee mugs from meetings and vacations and schools, old office equipment in a big stack). If you look around most homes, you will see something parallel to my office. Why did you think we all patronize the souvenir shops at the national parks and airports and sports stadiums and try to keep our kids out but only half-heartedly? Symbols to organize and elicit memories.

Although the iMindMap documentations does not seem to mention this, it is quite simple to develop stand alone flow charts that are easily formatted in iMindMap.

conceptual diagrams

And,  if you want a 3D diagram just click the button.

3d conceptual

Making concept maps, scientific path diagrams, flow charts, and other kinds of general diagrams is VERY easy and fast.  [Note: You can combine mind maps and other types of diagrams together. Or you can do a diagram without a mind map. And very rapidly with great control over format. And 3D.]

No April Fool here.