Not the past, not what might happen in the future. Fuzzy, intuitive, today’s emotions. Nonlinear, visual, big picture. Attention flows toward good, bright, happy visualizations.
Opening your mind to nonlinear thinking may provide a cognitive reserve that helps you as cognitive functions start to decline perhaps precipitously into dementia. Neuroplasticity is a mechanism that the brain will use to reassign functional processing from one area to the brain as it is damaged by trauma or disease.
One very good way to encourage the development of cognitive reserve and neuroplasticity is to practice nonlinear thinking methods that can help promote mindful solutions. Should the brain become damaged, it may be able to use nonlinear, symbolic visual thinking to cope, at least for a while. And while you practice you may also experience strength in your resolve and understanding.
Do note that the above comments are speculative. There is NO formal research on mind mapping or other comments about this in the literature (other than my own). Also, this is based only on my own experience and generalizations from my earlier research on daydreaming and imagery. So do not go about thinking that this proven. Rather it is speculative.
While I theorize that mind mapping is related to mindfulness in SOME applications, even if it turns out that it is not — from the results of formal empirical studies — there are other demonstrated benefits from mind mapping, so the actual use of mind mapping should still be encouraged.
Biggerplate.com is a repository of mind maps created by most of the major mind mapping programs. The maps may downloaded without cost for study of the technical issues in making the map and its content.
Biggerplate.com is an important and often-used “library” of mind maps used by the world wide community of mind maps and related tools for visual thinking. It is a potentially a wonderful opportunity to learn more about mind maps.
So how valid is the information? Is it a fact that 32% of all UK residents do X while 39% of all USA residents do Y valid? Are the brain diseases listed correctly in the usual way? Are explicit and implied facts correct? Was the map developed by an expert in using the method of mind mapping to enhance visual thinking? Is the author/developer an expert in the content of the map such as a professor or a recognized expert?
Can you answer any of my questions in the previous paragraph from information presented on Biggerplate.com? ABSOLUTELY NOT. There is no review of the content validity of the maps nor any review of whether the purported mind map meets the standards of an effective use of a tool to improve visual thinking.
Peer review is the gold standard of assessing the quality of intellectual property. In this case peer review is probably not required for 95% of the mind maps on Biggerplate.com where the content is typically commonsense or is information available in accepted textbooks. On the other hand, some information like that in medicine or science or legal opinions or statistics begs out for peer review.
The mind model (aka mind map) below suggests at least a minimally acceptable solution in the cases where peer review is probably not needed. At this time we do not know if a mind map author/developer sees herself as an expert or novice in both the theory of mind mapping and visual thinking as well as content of the map. We should at least ask the author to provide information about his qualifications using self ratings. While not a great solution it is a simple and quick one that would help improve the use of the information archived on the extremely useful website Biggerplate.com.
This mind model (aka mind map) below shows a “Circle of Care” for persons successfully living well with dementia. The ability to access such a network when needed is a goal that the healthcare and social care systems should strive to attain.
While this may appear to be a daunting task, remember that most of these services exist in some form in most places but in most instances are not coordinated nor aware of the contributions of other sources. The key to making the “system work” is successful (care or case management) of the individual.
My favorite mind mapping program for the Mac, PC, iPhone, and iPad is iMindMap. I have made no secret of that in this blog for many years.
However, I do get a lot of email after people get sticker shock looking at the iMindMap web site. For many the price is out of reach although I believe that iMindMap is expensive but very cost-effective in that you can accomplish more with it than other programs and I think the maps themselves have potentially more impact on a reader.
That being said, there are several very inexpensive alternatives that can produce quite good results. One of two current alternatives (the other is MindNode) that meets my criteria for an excellent starting-level program is MindMaple. MindMaple is available for the PC, Mac, iPhone, and iPad. MindNode is not available for the PC.
I do not see a lot of differences between MindMaple and MindNode except usability, especially for the novice, where MindMaple has a slight edge over MindNode. MindNode handles inserted images a little bit easier.
Here are some examples of some mind maps created on the iPad version of MindMaple.
Note that the maps all have the some content but the formatting changes to show possible variations. Note that the Mac version does have more formatting options than the iPad version. [I did not test the PC version.]
Both of the programs work well on the smaller screens of the iPad and iPhone.
One way that healthcare communication can be made more effective is to supplement or replace traditional pages of small-type textual information with graphic displays such as mind models (AKA mind maps), sketches, graphs, and infographics.
This post focuses on mind models (mind maps). The same general arguments would apply to sketches, graphics, infographics, and other visual information methods designed to promote a more effective patient-oriented healthcare system with more complete, accurate, and easy-to-understand information for all.
If you are not familiar with mind models (mind maps), you should look at the mind map at the bottom of the page first (Footnote).