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

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One of the huge changes in the USA during my 62 years of life is that our country made great strides in recognizing the legal rights of all to be treated the same and fairly.

The decision of the US Supreme Court yesterday that the Defense of Marriage Act (defining marriage as a heterosexual couple) was unconstitutional is another giant step ahead for the USA.

I watched my own profession of psychology go from antiquated views of homosexuality (as a mental disorder-disease) to taking official stances that homosexuality was not associated with mental illness, LGBT marriages were as “healthy” as heterosexual ones, and that LGBT couples could raise children who were as healthy as those raised by heterosexual couples.

Why did psychologists take those official positions? The answer is very simple: well-designed and executed empirical research made it clear that LGBT couples (married or not) were stable, healthy pairings of mutually attracted adults.

I congratulate my LGBT friends and colleagues for persisting in the long, difficult, and expensive fight for equality in the USA. Their achievement moves America much further ahead.

I await the day when all remaining discrimination is eliminated in the USA.

Stop and think about this. Did you learn to write a several page document when you were in primary school? Of course not. The first few short words were followed by longer words and then short sentences and eventually a paragraph you worked on for several days and eventually you worked your way up to a one-page letter or a short book report or the traditional (and dreaded) first-week of school essay, “what I did on my summer vacation.”

Now for the traditional summer vacation essay.

A sentence …

“In June I went to Jackson Hole, Milan, Barcelona, and Paris.”

Summer 2013

A paragraph …

“In June I went to Jackson Hole, Milan, Barcelona, and Paris. In Jackson Hole, we saw mountains and rode horses. In Milan we saw a castle. In Barcelona we went to the stadium of Football Club Barcelona and went to the beach. In Paris we went to museums and a big tower with an elevator. I liked all of them very much.”

Summer 2013 2

You get it. (Practice makes it easier; start SMALL.)

Just because we are big boys and girls does not mean we can skip straight into writing novels as mind maps.

But with practice we can get here …

Or here …

Or here …

This is certainly not a complete list. Rather, it responds in part to the mind map in the previous post about the possible feelings of someone with dementia or cognitive decline. The mind map below is not medical or psychological advice. For questions about caregiving training for those helping #dementia patients, see your doctor for appropriate referrals in your area.

Click on the image to expand.


This mind map shows SOME of the ways SOME people may feel during cognitive decline. The mind map is not for self-diagnosis nor is it medical or psychological advice. If you believe that these conditions affect you or an individual under your care, seek diagnosis and advice from your primary care physician, a neurologist, psychiatrist, or other physician.

Click twice on image to zoom in.

Some Feelings During Cognitive Decline to Dementia

This morning my friend Hans Buskes (@hansbuskes) who gets up six hours earlier than I do (he is six time zones away in the Netherlands) was tweeting about an ancient mind map is a language as yet undeciphered. He mentioned that some computer programs had been run on the ancient manuscript that confirmed that the symbols on it met the criteria for a formal language although the meaning had not yet been deciphered.

This sentence set off a flash in my recently coffee-enhanced brain.

Both I and Hans have been thinking about how to develop syntax and semantics for “writing” in the “language” of mind maps.

As an initial step, why not assemble 500-1000 mind maps that experts agree are exemplary ones from the Bigger Plate archival library and study how their semantic and syntax elements are similar? Scientists have been studying the syntax and semantics of languages for decades (if not centuries) using methods that could be adapted to studying excellent mind maps and developing some guidelines for “what communicates well.”

Coffee is a great thing. I prefer mine American style, in a huge mug, and without sugar or cream. Just turn on the creative juices. (American coffee works a lot better for opening the gates of creativity than that excellent tasting expresso I was drinking in Italy, Spain, and France last week.)

One of the dumbest things that I have seen in the mind mapping literature — primarily written by “professional” mind mappers typically from a business background and with huge hourly billing rates — is that writing in mind map for others is not possible for most people because it is too personal.


If you have real content to present and use reasonable syntax and semantics, you can develop mind maps that others can learn to read, critique, remember, and use. Better. Stronger. Faster. And as Buskes points out, the sooner we develop common semantics-syntax for mind maps, the sooner we will all be able to read each other’s maps at least as easily as paragraphs. Buskes favors empirical studies to determine the best semantics-syntax as do I.

Judge these assertions from my blog and that of Hans Buskes. If you have real content (not bullshit theories developed from the half-baked understanding of someone else’s work) and employ semantic-syntax constructions designed to communicate to the majority of folks you can find that mind maps offer greater understanding than paragraphs of dense text.

But you gotta use real data and logical thoughts and actually want to communicate with someone else. This is not rocket science, just using skills you should have learned in elementary school by grade four. (Or if you are in the failing American education system by grade six.)

Don’t listen to the nay-saying gurus who have a vested interest in convincing you that you cannot write in mind map (as they can) so that you will pay their large consulting fees.

I believe Hans Buskes and Tony Buzan when they write-demonstrate that good mind maps can be written so that they can be universally understood. And that the skills of successful mind mapping can be developed by most adults and virtually all children. And that the resulting maps can be informative, well-researched, creative, and extremely interesting (see the online work of Dr Buskes). I also believe that communicating through mind mapping can make technical and life skill information more accessible to many more people including those with declining cognitive skills and learning disabilities and mental illness and allow them to better expressive themselves. And that visual data displays and writing tools are now fully supported by computer technology.

The best mind map is an accurate one that the most people can understand.

Not rocket science at all.

A few recent examples are given below. There are 100s of such maps in my blog posts.


what neurologically-impaired individuals might gain from mind mapping

One thing I have always feared about nursing home or home healthcare is that somebody who barely knows me would park me in a wheel chair or on a couch watching endless reruns of I Love Lucy or the Price is Right. Or ask me to endure hours of Kenny G or Hayden. Heck, if I have to watch TV for the rest of my life, at least put Battlestar Galactica or the college World Series on. Or Wynton Marsalis. Or Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Click on the figure below to expand. Seriously tell your caregivers and family members what you really like so they don’t have to guess. And so that they might remember you. As you really were.


Click on images to expand.

Source materials for the following mind map

Alzheimer’s Association

USA National Institutes on Health

Common Types of Dementia Sep 2013

Some Suggestions by G J Huba PhD About How Mind Mapping Might Help Address Some Cognitive Symptoms of Dementia

what neurologically-impaired individuals might gain from mind mapping

I think it is fair to say that most individuals will immediately mention loss of memory (specifically Alzheimer’s Disease) as the major component of neurological decline. But there is much more to neurological decline than just grandma forgetting the names of all of her children and forgetting to take pills. Neurological decline is actually a very complex phenomenon and can include such problems as loss of executive functioning (decision making, planning), the inability to communicate through words, losing the ability to track events in time, decrease in mental flexibility and creativity, and general inability to quickly understanding something being said. Some of the diagnoses associated with neurological decline are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (Frontotemporal Dementia, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Multiple Systems Atrophy. Corticobasal Degeneration and others) as well as accidents and resultant brain trauma from such sources as automobile accidents, football, and failing to wear head protection while on bicycles.

Individuals with neurological impairment have much more complex arrays of problems in brain functioning than is captured by saying that memory is failing.

Since the technique of mind mapping has been associated with learning and memory and creativity, it has been suggested by many as a way for neurologically impaired and those with normal aging to “retain and increase memory.” However the loss of neurological functioning is very general as discussed above, and it is quite likely that methods of mind mapping will prove effective when applied to many different issues encountered by the neurologically impaired.

This mind map shows some types of loss of mental-cognitive functioning that might be helped by using mind mapping techniques both before and throughout the increasing stages of neurological impairment.

Mind maps can be used for much more than just enhancing memory for the memory-challenged. The techniques are also useful for improving communication, decision making, cognitive flexibility, multichannel information processing, calendaring and  maintaining daily schedules and self-care, generating new thoughts, understanding the “big picture” (context and subtext), and many other problem issues.

I am going to write MUCH more on this topic in the coming weeks. Next up will be a mind map showing the relationship of types of neurodegenerative conditions.

Please click on the image to zoom.

what neurologically-impaired individuals might gain from mind mapping

Structural equation models, popularized by Joreskog and Sorbom within their LISREL computer program that solved long-standing mathematical estimation issues, have been recognized by many as the most powerful (or one of few most powerful) statistical model(s) available within the social and health sciences. A combination of concept mapping and mind mapping can quite effectively be used as a direct visual (or theoretical) analog of complex mathematical structural equation models. Such maps can be a good way of communicating the results of the structural equation modeling or in developing the theoretical models that will be tested. And yes, you can test the fit (appropriateness) of the models (diagrams) in a statistically rigorous way.

Yup, you heard here first (although path-like or combined mind map/concept models have been around for at least 45 years and I published hundreds of these in the late 70s though the 1990s in peer-reviewed social science and methodology journals and others simultaneously and subsequently have done the same). I am going to blog a LOT on this in the next few months. Mind and concept maps can be directly and formally simultaneously assessed if there are appropriate data available. Of course, such data are hard to come by, but not as hard as many believe.

The best way to draw concurrent concept and mind maps models is #iMindMap (using the flow chart option along with a mind map for a hybrid model). In structural equation modeling, a mind map would represent the estimation of measurement model parameters while the concurrent concept map would represent the structural model.

Mind Maps + Concept Maps can be statistically and concurrently estimated from appropriate data by Structural Equation Models.


Needs a lot of data, though. Current Macs and PCs are finally fast enough to do the statistical calculations in a notebook computer.

This is Mind Mapping 3.0 at its very best.

Much more on this topic is coming including a lot of demonstrations that mind maps and concept maps can be easily developed as a consequence of very rigorous mathematical model. And tested for goodness-of-fit.

[aaaahhh what the hell … While I am tempted to add a lot of equations, numerical analysis, and map pictures to this post, I will not do so and not mix up the media and message. This is the pilot. The series is coming this summer.]

The following generic sample illustrates what the hybrid models look like.

Constructs are measured by indicators. Indicators are usually imperfect and can be corrected in the statistical modeling. The relationship between constructs and indicators is shown in the mind map.

The constructs themselves may be related in a causal or noncausal way. The concept map shows the relationships that are present as determined by the statistical modeling.

Click on image to increase size.

Topic (correlations among constructs)