This post is part of Huba’s Integrated Model of MindModeling/MindMapping. Other posts in this series can be accessed by clicking here.
Would you like to learn about the theoretical distinction between a MindModel and a MindMap? Click here.
All of the many formatting options available for MindModels and MindMaps in a comprehensive program can aid in the expression of emotional context or “hot cognition” within a MindModel/MindMap.
It is important to express in a diagram that will be used for making decisions or planning. Linking emotion to events or facts aids in the formation of memory structures and aids in the complete retrieval of information.
Emotion is part of any thinking process. Visual thinking is hugely improved with the coding of emotions in colors, clip art, icons, fonts, and the placement of information.
Hot sauce makes a meal more memorable. MindModels and MindMaps are more memorable when they incorporate emotions in their design.
My recent efforts to show the evolution of Mind Maps into Mind Models is found here.
Unfortunately, only two of the major mind mapping apps seem suitable for use developing mind models, iMindMap and iThoughtsX. For this purpose, iMindMap is the superior product and wins the coveted King Kong award.
If you add my enhancements and significantly changed guidelines to the same-old, same-old mind maps that have been around for many years, you end up with a kind of a Super Duper Mind Map on Steroids, or as I prefer to call it a Mind Model. [In the past, I have also referred to the Mind Model using the term Mind Mapping 4.0, but as my ideas have evolved I have concluded that the Mind Model is really a sufficient change from mind mapping and innovation to give it a separate name.]
Mind Models are Mind Maps that use the best possible techniques AND state-of-the-art information to communicate SOLUTIONS and ESTABLISHED KNOWLEDGE as effectively as possible. Models are easier to understand than are compilations of a lot of “facts” because a model pulls all of the parts together into an integrated EXPLANATION of data and facts and theories. Models also include dynamic processes that show how knowledge and context change over time and can make predictions.
A high percentage of what I have called mind maps earlier in my work are really Mind Models that jump far beyond the guidelines of mind mapping espoused by Buzan. All of the mind models (mind maps) created in this series of posts were created in iMindMap, but they could have also been created in several other highly sophisticated mind mapping programs that support well my concept of the mind model.
Click on the three mind model (map) images below to expand them fully.
The three images show the evolution of Buzan-style mind maps into mind models with each diagram addressing somewhat different issues.
And look in the first model carefully to see my definition of “expert.” My definition accepts the fact that most experts never were formally trained in their expertise in school and most never received academic degrees to document their high levels of expertise. You do not have to have a piece of paper that says MD or PhD or JD or MBA or MS or MSN or MSSW, etc., to be an expert. What you do need to be an expert is a deep understanding of what you are talking about.
As I have often discussed here, I have a neurodegenerative condition that has significantly affected my ability to think and write in traditional ways. Pushing organic Buzan-style mind maps (a very good idea popularized by Tony Buzan but too inflexible as our knowledge of cognitive neuroscience expands dramatically) into the enhanced concept of mind models has permitted me to think carefully about how those with dementia or less severe cognitive decline (as well as anyone else of any age) may organize information and knowledge so as to improve their quality of life, ability to learn, and capacity for remembering and applying their mental efforts.
My generation is the first one to potentially have been using computers much of their adult life.
When I was 20 I learned the computer language FORTRAN a very early computation-scientific language. When I was 21 I used the big mainframe computer and printer with green and white bar paper to print my grad school application essay. Every school I applied to said that they had never seen anything like it. I got into a bunch of good ones.
When I was 22, I learned APL — the best computer language ever that very few people ever learned — and the original vi text editor from the original versions of UNIX. Vi was the first way you could use primitive word processing. Text editors like vi were around for about a decade before usable word processors.
When I was 26, I joined a lab that had the original IBM word processor that cost about $50,000 in 1977 dollars, supported 8 PhDs, and had the processing power of a 2016 basic iPhone (or less). As I recall that machine had about 16K (yup, K not MB or GB) of memory necessitating that it read and write on the progenitor of the modern (1980) floppy disk. We loved that machine which also had a primitive “smooth” printer (probably an inkjet, perhaps a primitive laserjet).
By the time I was 33, I was the Director of a group of programmers and psychologists in industry designing and writing software for educators, psychologists, managers, and healthcare to be run on the original (floppy disk operating system) IBM PC and the first widely distributed Apple IIe computers. When I started using PCs, there was only an IBM PC DOS; later through a well-written contract by Bill Gates’ dad, Microsoft was able to relabel the product MS (Microsoft DOS) thus enabling it to sell it to Compaq and other PC maker and eventually drive IBM out of the computer business in the next two decades.
By the time I was 35, I had founded a company and gotten an early generation PC and a first-generation laserjet. Later I had the first Compaq notebook computer (the size of an 8.5 x 11) sheaf of paper weighing about 10-12 lbs with a nifty blue on lighter blue screen.
Computers developed over the next 25 years and became cheaper, computer word processors and companies came and went, and by the time I retired (medical reasons) at the age of 60, many adults my age had started to use PCs or Macs (most in the late 1980s or 1990s) and had a home laser printer. Word processors were easy to use, pictures could be displayed, you could buy books and music and food and lawnmowers and computers and printers online, and most of the accumulated knowledge of the world was on your desk.
When people start to cognitively decline as part of typical aging, diseases, or injury, a high percentage already know how to order a pizza on their computer after they can no longer drive and download the most recent movies even when they no longer wish to go to movie theaters. Some can even manage to access their online medical records using arcane and stupid database systems mandated for all healthcare providers. Even I (with all of my computer experience) am often frustrated with the online Medical Information System used by the University of North Carolina medical system.
In 2016, although many wonderful things are possible, the state of computing and its integration into services for those undergoing cognitive decline is still spotty, misunderstood by case managers and healthcare professionals and caregivers, and patients are not supported with technical issues that arise.
I was personally born at about the exact perfect time to use new computer hardware and software as it was developed and evolved and was educated at schools and worked in settings that were on the cutting edge of computer technology so I would argue that my computer skills are among the most broad of my generation.
Still, there are many issues in computing and software that are becoming more difficult to understand as they develop more sophistication and I watch my brain cells die. The biggest issue, of course, is that many seniors do not have access to current computer hardware and software which is sad as such access would possibly improve the quality of their lives, make them at least a little more independent, remove some burden from unpaid caregivers, and cut costs in the healthcare system that far exceed the cost of distributing computers to the financially-challenged elderly.
The situation can be characterized as “The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY.”
The following mind model (or advanced mind map) explains the issues. Please click the image to expand it.
About 40 years ago, I took an incredible course during my PhD program (in Psychology) taught by Jerome L Singer. Dr Singer was one of the earliest researchers of daydreaming, guided imagery, and imagination throughout the lifespan.
I learned about techniques for harnessing the power of daydreaming in a positive-constructive way, recognizing and minimizing ruminations involving guilt and fear-of-failure, and selectively changing the focus of attention in a deliberate way.
Out of that class came a long-term, extremely meaningful and productive collaboration with Jerry Singer and Bernie Segal. We did a lot of work together on the characteristics of daydreaming and the relationship of daydreaming styles to personality, sensation seeking tendencies, drug and alcohol use-abuse and other risk behaviors, gender, and social background.
I am very convinced that my knowledge of using daydreaming and other meditative states to expand positive feelings and cognitions as well as avoiding a lack of focus with ruminations of failure and guilt has helped me live better with dementia.
As I have learned over the past six or seven years, the subjective experience of cognitive decline into dementia starts out feeling like one of guilt and rumination and extreme anger and distress. Learning how to live through these “bad” daydreams and focus toward using the time spent in daydreaming in a positive-constructive way helps to organize and focus all of the mental effort expended into plans and new memories can be an important tool to live well with dementia. Much of what I experience during a typical day feels like an extended daydream. If I can keep the daydream focused on the positive, many different plans and thoughts come to me fairly freely. I am very sure that positive-constructive daydreaming and mind mapping are closely related in that most of my mind maps are originally conceived in long periods of daydreaming I have through my day of living with dementia. Not surprisingly, most of my creative mind maps are outlined, started, and sometimes finished right after these daydreams. And yes, while daydreams help produce very good mind maps summarizing what I am thinking, the converse is also true. With a good mind map in front of me, I can often stimulate create thinking down a directed path indicated in the mind map.
If you drift into periods of daydreaming as your traditional cognition becomes impaired, try to use your daydreams to open yourself up to individual brainstorming, analysis and planning. The periods of positive-constructive daydreaming can be one of the more valuable tools for helping you continuing to use your (degenerating) brain very effectively and creatively. Or not. It works well for me, may not work for others. But trying to guide your daydreams in constructive ways costs little but your time. If you want a professional to help you learning such techniques you should consult with a psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, or psychiatrist formally trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
You have been diagnosed with a brain condition. Re-learn how to think. Learn new information and how to use mental tools. Learn how to relax and feel more calm.
You have been learning all of your life. Recommit to continue learning, even if it is hard. The benefits can be great. Even if you only have a few more good days with your family or feel better about yourself part of the time, that may still be a very big gain in quality of life for you.
Click the mind map image to expand it.
Note 1: All of my posts in this blog and my graphics were prepared after I was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative condition in 2010. My most recent diagnosis was frontotemporal dementia.
Note 2: I do not endorse any of the commercial brain training computer programs, nor do I use any of these myself. All techniques suggested in the mind map above can be used with a piece of paper and a writing implement. I do suggest that you may want to use a general purpose computer program for mind mapping and/or sketching on a computer (I do) and also note that basic programs can be obtained for free or at a very low cost if you just want to try the methods. Even the most expensive of the relevant programs have free trial periods of various lengths.
Fonts are a preview of what text will say before you even read it.
Most major corporations have proprietary fonts that you will often recognize before you even read the text.
The two Star Trek Fonts used on the title screens of movies
The Star Wars font used on titles and the scrolling synopsis
The Coca-Cola fonts including the swirly one, a very simple but bold label, and several others
Typewriter fonts often used in Indie and “literary” movies
The unique numeral fonts used on watches by Seiko, Tag Heuer, Timex, Casio, and most others
The Bell font that was designed for and used in phone books back in the old days of print and chosen because it looked clear at small sizes and used less ink
The Amazon.com font
The Google font
Fonts matching elementary and advanced printing and writing systems
Fonts used by major greeting card companies
Fonts used by shopping malls, gas stations, government offices in various locales, and cigarette danger warnings
And then the two dozen fonts — mostly nonstandard hand-printed ones — that I use in my mind maps to establish a personal style and project creativity and organized chaos and at times fun, seriousness, childhood, absurdity, and authority.
Fonts are a huge design element often overlooked in designing mind maps. In addition to having more or less clarity, they can project seriousness, friendliness, anger, laughter, fun, excitement, love, the old (early fonts from early printing presses, typewriters, historical documents like the US and French Constitutions, World War II posters, old bar signs), road signs in the USA, international road signs, passports, scanners, bank numerals, individual characteristics (such as fonts based on the handwriting or printing of Freud, Leonardo, Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, Middle Age monks, Frank Lloyd Wright, Einstein), and those evocative of The Old West, the 1800s, the Great Depression, various wars, the 1920s, the 1930s in Germany, the 1960s, the 1970s, and the ubiquitous smiling, frowning, angry, joyous, clueless, and cool yellow dots invented by Forrest Gump 🙂 while he was jogging for a few years. Gump of course also invented the phrase “shit happens” in the same scene from the movie, but that is a separate story.
I’m not here to teach a class in font selection as there are numerous books on the topic.
Realize however, that matching fonts to other design elements in a mind map as well as its content and audience and images can greatly increase the effect of the map on encoding, retention, brainstorming, creativity, and communication.
Here are some examples of the same mind map in various font and color combinations. Not only are some more or less “readable,” they also at times evoke different emotions, motivations, and reactions.
When I create mind maps I usually write the title and a few branches in a default simple font like Arial and then try as many as dozen variations before selecting one that most matches my intent for the map. As I near the end, I then go back and look at the earlier and various other alternatives before settling on a final font.
Font selections are very important. The font can draw your attention before you read the words. Or bore you once again and curb your enthusiasm.
Changing the fonts in the mind map is the easiest way to change its appearance and to make it more readable and understandable to various audiences.
Click on mind maps to expand their size. At the bottom of the individual maps — differing only in the font — are the same maps presented as a self running slide show.
Click on the image to expand it. Pat the Person with Dementia on the back to show your support for the hard process of living well with dementia. The efforts of both the PWD and the Caregiver can result in a richer life for both.
Here is a mind map listing 22 different things you can do at little or no extra cost as you go through your normal day. As someone with dementia, making myself get up out of the chair to go to the post office for stamps is a three-day fight with myself and an anxiety-causing hassle. I have 150,000 digital pictures and no photo albums (and little ability to organize the pictures in logical ways or even to delete the out-takes). The weekly trips to COSTCO or Walmart to buy basic staples for the house at huge discounts are something in my past ancient history (6 months ago) and if you are going and can bring back a 12 paper towel pack and 3 of those 48 can cases of diet soda and giant bottles of dish detergent, laundry detergent, and dryer sheets that would be a huge savings for me and life help. I’ll give you plenty of money to cover the things I would like with enough leftover to buy your kids pizza on the way out. How about taking my iPhone for 30 minutes and getting rid of the extra junk on it and also setting the system defaults so that recurring event reminders don’t wake me up in the middle of the night.
Most of these 22 things would just require some brief communications between us if you were going to the post office or COSTCO or near a pharmacy I need to go to, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would ask if I’d like a ride over there (I’ll get myself home on Uber or a bus).
Little things are big when you have dementia. Just being able to save $10 on a bulk pack of paper towels would bring a smile to my face.
Some concrete suggestions that would be great for people in early and mid-stage dementia who are still working hard to remain independent. Any help is greatly appreciated.
During the past six years in the USA it has become increasingly clear that the American Political is broken.
Donald Trump does not have the answer. Hillary Clinton does not have the answer. Bernie Sanders does not have the answer. Ted Cruz does not have the answer. Apparently none of them went to kindergarten. Most of us learned the cures for this mess in kindergarten or by watching Star Trek. The POTUS candidates must have identified with the Klingons rather than the Federation.
It ain’t over til its over. And I have yet to hear the mezzo-soprano. Or the dog howling.
When you find out that you have cognitive impairment or a dementia-causing disease, you need to move to IMMEDIATELY make some changes. The quicker you start the more likely it is that you can refocus your attention and remaining resources to help yourself, caregivers, family and others have a somewhat better quality of life than if you sit around and pout and bitch and act combative. Think positive. Plan. Follow your plan as well as you can.
No you cannot “beat” dementia although you can push back very hard and assure at least a little better quality of life for yourself and your family. If you can effectively refocus, you will have many “better” days and a few more memorable ones. And your family will be less stressed. And your family will be less stressed. And your family will be less stressed. Got it?
Here’s a mind map to help you get started. Make yourself go through the process of refocusing and things can improve for at least part of the time.