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social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2019

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Click on the image to expand it.

Effective Mind Maps Mind Models Express Emotions or Hot Cognition

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Emoticon 1

Cartoon emotions faces

Cartoon emotions faces set for comics design

You didn’t really think that I wrote the earlier blog posts on Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping just to add more posts to my blog did you?

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.

Map 1

The MindModel™ the Evolution of the MindMap

Map 2

mindmodel™ [mind model] 2016 © g j huba phd

Map 3

Process Mechanisms in Huba's Mind Model™ Compared to Buzan's Mind Map

 

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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.

Some examples.

  • 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.

fonts in mind maps 1 fonts in mind maps 2 fonts in mind maps 3 fonts in mind maps 4 fonts in mind maps 5 fonts in mind maps 6 fonts in mind maps 7
FONTS IN MIND MAPS 8

FONTS IN MIND MAPS 9

fonts in mind maps 10

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This post is part of Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping. Click here for a list of all of the blog posts that present the theory.

HITMM Button

The second most important innovation in modern mind mapping was the development of a flexible computer program that would permit a visual thinker to create models and theory and reminders and notes and all manner of visual thinking aids simple and complex.

Often categorized as a “mind mapping” program for Buzan’s guidelines for mind mapping, iMindMap has evolved into a full visual thinking environment that permits dozens of types of visual elements to be created, and on the same canvas if desired. Instead of limiting itself to its Buzan roots, iMindMap permits users to create all manner of mind maps whether fully Buzan-compliant, partially Buzan-compliant, or any other format required. It is easy to use and oh so interactive. Because of its great interactivity it permits users to create Mind Mapping 4.0 very modern information maps and displays that transcend earlier guidelines.

The most important characteristic of the program is that it encourages  users to customize mind maps endlessly and experiment with different ways of presenting the same information. It produces visual thinking output that can be very easily changes as the user wishes to use new information, a broader or narrower scope, and customization for different groups. Can you say F-L-E-X-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y boys and girls. Now, how about C-R-E-A-T-I-V-I-T-Y?

Without the presence of the iMindMap program my own theory could not have been developed which I view as the most important innovation in modern mind mapping. iMindMap permitted that most important of activities in model building, namely experimenting with different alternate models (formats).

You should use this computer program if you want to join me in studying mind map theory by mind mapping in many variations. That’s what I do.

A mind map showing why iMindMap is a terrific, super-duper, fantastic tool for model and theory building and refinement. Click to expand.

imindmap versions 4 - 9 second most important advancement in modern mind mapping

iMindMap was developed by Chris Griffiths and his team at OpenGenius. Each annual revision of the program is a work of genius.

One has to experiment as one builds models, theory, and even a simple mind mapped grocery list. This is the tool that lets you do so with ease.

 

This post is part of Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping. To see an index and links for the other posts, click here.

HITMM 2016

In the 1970 and 80s, Tony Buzan presented some guidelines the mind mapping technique he was explaining and popularizing at the time. Over the years, Buzan’s guidelines have changed very little although the fields of cognitive neuroscience, medicine, brain imaging, and mathematical modeling (of the brain) have changed dramatically. My own guidelines being presented in this series of posts are in many cases either extensions or corrections of Buzan’s work from decades ago.

The following mind map shows some of the reasons that we must NOT consider guidelines for mind mapping set in stone or frozen and periodically re-evaluate them. Click the map to expand it.

because cognitive neuroscience is progressing so rapidly ...

I am writing these blog posts having been diagnosed in 2010 with neurodegenerative disease. And dementia.

Click here for an index and links to the posts about Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping.

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When I write one of the posts, I really do not have too much — if any — memory of what I have written in my prior posts, perhaps as recently as a few minutes ago.

Sometimes I go back and glance through several earlier posts based on their titles in my index. A lot of the logic of the post and the mind maps comes back almost immediately by looking at the mind map in the posts.

Yup, there is a modest amount of redundancy among the posts and probably some inconsistency. I don’t worry about it. Hopefully you will not either. After all, my memory and lots of parts of my brain are pretty messed up.

Here is the take home message. Whether you agree with what I conclude in any of these blog posts, I think that you have to concede that I am using a series of mind maps to weave a pretty integrated story and set of arguments. I am doing so with diagnoses considered by many to mean that I have already had “functional brain death” and which many say they most fear.

If you have neurodegenerative disease or care for someone who does, you may want to look into mind mapping to help maintain quality of life for as long as possible.

If you do not have neurodegenerative disease and are sure you will never have it, you may not want to do anything. But if you think that someday there is a teeny-tiny chance you will get neurodegenerative disease, maybe you should look into these techniques while you can still learn them while “brain healthy.” Even if you never get neurodegenerative disease you will find that all of the methods I discuss can improve thinking for someone with a perfectly typical and “healthy brain.”

Can you believe that I am sitting here writing this with brain disease that often sidelines me when I am not sitting in front of a mind map or blogging program?

That is the take home message from my work. Please remember and make use of it.

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This blog post is part of a series that collectively presents Huba’s Integrative Theory of Mind Mapping. An index and links to other posts may be accessed by clicking here.

HITMM Button

Tony Buzan’s work 30 years ago helped establish the method of mind mapping as an important one for visual thinking. He organized and synthesized methods used by high achievement thinkers over the centuries and his own classrooms while he was teaching and observed them.

In the 21st Century, mind mapping is turning increasingly (and correctly) to a focus on content issues in medicine, health care, education, human rights, and the broad dissemination of mind mapping techniques to peoples of all education, wealth, and geographical groups.

The following mind map shows the 21st Century issues of mind mapping within the original 20th Century achievements of Buzan and his colleagues. Click on the image to expand it.

Beyond  Buzan's  Guidelines   21st Century

This post is part of a series on Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping. Click here for an index and links to other posts in the series.

HITMM 2016

Friendly (inviting, bright, happy, funny, clear) mind maps motivate, explain, communicate, and facilitate thinking better. Think positive, write a little irreverently.

Click on the image to expand it.

Make Every Day Mind Maps for Patients (and Everyone Else) Friendly

This is one of a series of posts on Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping. To access a complete index with links to individual posts click here.

HITMM 2016

 

What makes a mind map effective? A few thoughts in the following mind map. Click on the image to expand it.

mind map effectiveness

Tailoring the mind map style to the content of the map, audiences, and related factors makes the mind map maximally effective. Sadly, I seem to be the only one writing about the use of tailoring of maps to users, content, and applications. It is my belief that such tailoring is the most important way to make a mind map meaningful and effective.

There is no such thing as a mind map style which is “the best” for all applications in spite of various pronouncements over the past 40 years that you must curve branches or center the map on the page and use a radial structure and have one word per branch if you want to have a “real” mind map with an optimally useful mind map. What is best is what works best for what YOU are trying to do with the map. There is no one universal formula for the best mind map in all circumstances. You should use your experience mind mapping and content knowledge to customize the style for maximum effect.

If you do not feel comfortable customizing a style, you can use Buzan’s Guidelines and achieve a good result. Following Buzan’s Guidelines almost always produces a good or very good mind map and should be your default as a starting point. Customizing can improve the map at the expense of requiring experience and some additional time. As you mind map more, you will find that you develop a fairly advanced and useful knowledge of mine map style in different applications of the technique.

After I develop my first draft of a mind map — either in a standard default style for iMindMap or a standard custom style I have developed for my own use — I systematically try changing color schemes, fonts, branch placements, images, shapes, branch formatting, and other elements of the map to see which combination seems to best fit the intended audience and the information I am using. This is NOT an aesthetic judgment; while pretty is often very good, the prettiest map may not be the most effective map if the map violates assumptions that patients or doctors or scientists or engineers or students about how information is presented, which concepts are usually discussed, and systems of color coding that are well established (and usually invariant) in various professions. For instance, red, green, and yellow are virtually universally used to mean stop, go. and caution. Hot is usually coded with red and cold with blue.

Some judgment is required to optimize mind maps. Experimentation with alternate styles and pilot testing with yourself and several others can help determine which of several alternate map files may be most effective and help you to evolve a very effective style.

This is post is part of a series of HITMM 2016 posts. For a full list of all of the posts in the series, click here.

HITMM 2016

Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping is a significant enhancement to Buzan’s Guidelines in many ways. The three largest differences are as follows.

HITMM places a heavy emphasis on tailoring the map for those using it, those developing it, the content area under consideration, and many other factors related to these large themes.

HITMM realizes that maps need not be radial. Mind maps that run from left-to-right (for left-to-right languages) may have many benefits besides the obvious one of readability by groups not familiar with mind maps.

HITMM promotes mapping with one CONCEPT per branch. The use of concepts (often described by multiple words) greatly facilitates visual thinking over the method of Buzan.

HITMM revises and expands Buzan’s Guidelines in a number of additional evolutionary ways to include current neuroscience findings and mapping technologies.

The mind map below shows major issues in HITMM mind maps in relationship to Buzan Style ones. Click the image to expand it.

MIND MAPS HUBA STYLE COMPARED TO BUZAN STYLE




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For an index of all posts about HITMM 2016, click here.HITMM 2016

There are many areas in which Huba and Buzan strongly agree, especially in the coding of branches and ideas within the mind map so as to highlight the importance of the information. The next figure shows major convergences in the suggestions.

Click on the mind map to expand it.

 

Comparison of Huba and Buzan Suggestions for Additional Mind Map Characteristics

 

 

HITMMMM

Huba’s Integrative Theory of Mind Modeling (Mind Mapping) is comprised of a number of posts in this blog.

The theory specifies styles (parameters) for developing the best types of mind maps (and successor mind models™) for real applications including cognitive decline, dementia, medical practices, healthcare offices, clients, patients, folks in general, physicians, nurses, other healthcare providers, family of patients, family of clients, social work and other social care professions, treatment facilities, medicine, science, experimentation, reporting, and most other applied uses.

The term MindModel™ is a new one coined by G J Huba PhD to describe the highly advanced form of mind mapping developed through the integrated theory. The MindModel is an evolution of the Buzan-style Organic MindMap into a much more useful thinking tool.

The term MindModel is first introduced in Blog Post 20 in this series to represent all of the enhancements of traditional mind maps discussed in Posts 0-19.

New posts will be added frequently. This Index will be updated as new items are added. The posts may be accessed by clicking the links below.

HITMM 2016 (0): Preface

HITMM 2016 (1): Mind Mapping 4.0/Mind Modeling

HITMM 2016 (2): Central (Radial) Organization Plus Enhancements

HITMM 2016 (3): Design and Label Mind Map Branches Using Huba’s One Concept Per Branch Rule

HITMM 2016 (4): Methods for Highlighting Information in Mind Maps

HITMM 2016 (5): Huba Style Mind Maps (Mind Models™ vs Buzan Style Mind Maps

HITMM 2016 (6): Mind Map Effectiveness

HITMM 2016 (7): Make “Every Day” Mind Maps Friendly

HITMM 2016 (8): Evidence Based and Pragmatic Guidelines for Mind Mapping

HITMM 2016 (9): How and Why Mind Mapping Works to Assist People with Cognitive Impairment or Dementia

HITMM 2016 (10): How and Why Mind Mapping Works to Assist People with Typical Cognitive Functioning

HITMM 2016 (11): Beyond Buzan’s Mind Mapping Guidelines in the 21st Century

HITMM 2016 (12): The Most Important Take Home Message from Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping/Mind Modeling™

 

HITMM 2016 (14): Because Cognitive Neuroscience Moves So Rapidly …

HITMM 2016 (15): Most Important Innovation in Modern Mind Mapping

HITMM 2016 (16): Fonts Show “What You are Going to Say Before You Say It”

 

HITMM 2016 (20) Beyond Buzan: Evolution of the Mind Map into the Mind Model™

HITMM 2016 (21): “Effective” MindModels/MindMaps Express Emotions or “Hot Cognition”

To be continued

ripped mindmaps

 

HITMMMM

Click here for an index of all blog posts on Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping.

 

HITMM 2016

Tony Buzan’s most controversial rule for mind mapping is to use one word per branch. People ignore it, hate it, complain about it, call such maps words I do not care to repeat here, love it, create with it, blame it, and look at other alternatives.

I find Buzan’s branches with short labels of one word to work pretty well to generate pretty pictures, and to work extremely well in mind maps being used to facilitate brainstorming. You can use this rather blind rule and obtain mind maps that work fairly well. But not as well as they could especially if you factor in the observations of many that most people find it far more confusing to read branches labelled with Buzan’s rigid format.

In the beginning of my theoretical work a couple of years ago, I thought that Buzan’s rule was the best one for labelling branches and channeling the thought process. Over the ensuing years I have come to realize that Buzan’s rule and its resultant maps are too restrictive, promote verbal rather than visual thinking, and become “stringy” especially with curved branches that most people will not understand as well as a mind map labelled with concepts (constructs, summary ideas), many of which require several words to disambiguate.

In the general case, the rule of one word per branch (OWPB) does not work very well in most applied knowledge applications. Medical diagnoses are named with more than one word explaining how they categorized or caused, Oscar-nominated films are named with labels indicating their content and setting and historical period, and complex naming rules apply to great baseball shortstops, serial killers, books, stressors, rewards, people on the street, and great vacation resorts.

If you use the Buzan rules, you are basically focusing on words as you try to find places to put single words to collectively describe some complicated idea. Buzan’s rule reinforces the idea of word dominance rather than picture-visual dominance! If you put one concept on each branch (with several words needed to describe many concepts), you are focusing more on the underlying concept (a visual datum) and not a specific word.

Huba’s rule of one concept per branch supports true visual thinking about concepts that can be pictured. It promotes integration and understanding and theory. Diagrams are better labelled with a full concept than labelled with several successive branches of individual words as Buzan would have us do.

Huba’s OCPB rule promotes full visual thinking; Buzan’s OWPB rule promotes an encyclopedic knowledge of individual words at the loss of the visually complex object. Huba’s OCPB rule promotes full visual thinking. Buzan’s OWPB rule promotes a fracturing of basic concepts into a form that does not portray the full richness of ideas and their visual nature.

Here are some more thoughts in the form of a mind map. Click on the image to expand it.

1concept

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Why does Buzan’s theory fall apart at the idea of one word per branch rather the more correct and useful representation of one concept per branch. I believe it is because Buzan’s original rules of mind mapping from the 1970s and 1980s are based upon a digital model of the brain’s data processing functions (a set of “on/off” switches or those little pixels in your computer monitor that turn off and on to represent a picture in full color) that was commonly misused from the 1950s through the 1980s, and still is even today. The brain and its workings are analog. Lots of information “clumps” together rather than being a bunch of on/off switches in various locations. Analog devices use “degrees of on” to convey information as contrasted to a discrete one/off, yes/no digital device. Also, information is blended from many different sources and brain locations to construct the information as a concept or idea or map within the brain. More precisely, the brain is a stochastic device that mixes multiple neurons firings (primarily digital inputs or sources of information into a more analog continuous form) in part by accounting for a random component of erroneous information added due to a number of conditions (including brain disease effects). Or you can call it an analog device that makes probabilistic predictions. Or you can just say that it is much more complicated than the assumptions underlying Buzan’s one word per branch rule.

In order to maximize the usefulness of mind mapping and to promote greater use for such important issues as dealing with dementia and other medical conditions, personal and professional planning, decision making, communication of visual ideas big and small, learning, theorizing, remembering, and many more, we need to maximize the usefulness of the visual thinking model underlying mind mapping and move to the concept (construct, image based) system of constructing mind maps.

The decision about how to label the ideas in a mind map (whether by labelling them with single words as Buzan requires as opposed to single ideas I call constructs or concepts) is the most important one that is made in mind mapping.

HITMM  2016

Click here for an index of all HITMM 2016 blog posts and links.

Starting April 18, 2016, I am uploading a series of posts collectively comprising Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping or HITMM. These are being marked with the year of publication 2016 and a number in parentheses indicating the order of the post in the series.

Note that this series of posts is an overall theory of the best practices for mind mapping in real applied fields (that is, just about everything but the itsy, bitsy teeny, weeny, fairly trivial examples used in mind mapping books and courses).

My goal has been to develop a series of guidelines that are practical for patients, caregivers, clients, general folks, professionals, healthcare providers, scientists, organizations, and yes, even butchers, bakers and possibly even attorneys.

Watch for the first five or six posts this week. I am anticipating about a dozen or more posts on this topic.

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It’s taken me a year to develop these guidelines and justifications and about 1000 mind maps written for actual applications, not toy maps like those used by others. I have also tested a lot of my ideas with various readers of my blog including people with cognitive impairment and dementia, students, health care providers, the general public, caregivers, doctors, lawyers, family members of medical patients and those with mental illness, and many other types of people among the more than 110,000 people who get direct notices of my blog posts via Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Facebook.

I believe that this is the first set of mind mapping guidelines which has ever received so much comment through the wizardry and participation opportunities in social media and world-wide opportunities to study it on a web site of 600 blog posts.

Oh, and in case you wonder, I am not a relative of P. T. Barnum. Rather, I have worked 35 years as a research psychologist-program evaluator-psychometrician, received honors from the two major psychological associations in the USA, visited more 500 clinics serving most types of behavioral and medical diseases and disorders and studied their operations, and have lived well for a number of years with dementia and used these techniques myself. I also worked for a few years on the development of several major neuropsychological diagnostic tests and know how to read peer-reviewed papers in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and clinical neurology. And I am not going to promote outdated (often fictional) ideas attributed to psychology and neuroscience and neurology such as split brains, 90% of the brain’s work being done by 10% of the brain, or digital models of an analog brain typically found in mind mapping books.

The guidelines I am presenting are the best ones I know of to help you develop mind maps that may help you to have a more productive, happier, and maybe healthier life or help you help someone else. I am not claiming that mind maps will change your brain (no definitive research has ever been on that issue which seems quite sad given the amount of money made by those who teach $5,000 courses and have $10,000 per day consulting practices justified by implying that definitive research supports everything they sell). To be specific to my case, I do not claim mind maps can cure or prevent dementia or fix up a damaged brain. But do I think it is easier to navigate the typical or dementia-affect world in a way that is joyful with a higher quality of life than one would otherwise have been able to have without using mind maps, other visual thinking tools, or related tools. What I present are NOT brain training methods of which I am somewhat skeptical, but rather thinking tools (much as traditional arithmetic and mathematics, letter writing and the creation of literature, as well as organizing, filing, using balance and spreadsheets, and drawing charts are commonly used thinking tools).

A lot of kids grow up wanting to be football players or ballerinas or doctors or musicians or lawyers or politicians or POTUS or dog catchers or (heaven forbid) whale trainers at Sea Wiorld. When I was 10 I used to write Huba’s Theory of [Whatever I was Working On at the Time] in my school notes and doodles. I was still doing so in graduate school working on my PhD degree.

Geek Boy - Two Thumbs Up

Am I trying to sell you something? Not really. All of what I know — in the most accessible way I know how to present it while having dementia — is in the posts on this blog. Yes, I copyright the posts and images so that they will not be taken from here and taken out of the context of the larger work. And yes, I may choose to synthesize the work in books or applications. But the core information is all here, free, and will continue to be so. Please cite the work appropriately if you use or quote it.

You can read all of this for free and comment on it for 100,000+ other people to see in the comments section of every post. Love it, say so and why. Hate it, say so and why. All I ask that you do not hide behind a pseudonym or “anonymous” identity. The only comments I do not approve for the site are those that contain blatant advertising, attacks on individuals other than me, spam detected by automatic processors, malware and viruses, bigotry, and possibly offensive statements that go far beyond the usual four, five, and six letter words I use to make emphatic points.

I cannot and will not give individual psychological, health, or medical advice and nothing in this blog should be interpreted as such. Except in very rare cases, I cannot help you develop or debug any of your own work. That’s just the way it has to be in my universe of trying to get as much done as possible while undergoing cognitive decline. I’m happy with the way I am approaching all of this.

George Huba, PhD
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
April 2016

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Click here for an index of all HITMM 2016 blog posts.

HITMM  2016

[Click on all images to expand them.]

[My comments below pertain to left-to-right written languages. For right-to-left languages can you just assume you can translate my words into right-to-left? I suspect so, but only native speakers, readers, and writers of right-to-left languages will be able to answer that. I encourage their thoughts and comments.]

Buzan’s rules or guidelines (or “laws” of mind mapping) require a central element from which other ideas flow in a hierarchical way with the most important parts of ideas represented near the center. That is, there is a central idea often represented by a picture (Buzan says always this will be the case but his iMindMap program has the majority of suggested central elements as outline images in which words are written so apparently this is not a rigid requirement) and a hierarchy of sub-branches emerging from branches emerging from the central idea.This rule has two major problems.First, often the format makes for overly compressed branches and sub-branches and a lack of “white space.”Second and most important, the left side of the diagram (that is to the left of the central image — where one effectively has to write and read in a right-to-left manner the opposite of the way one normally writes and reads — makes it quite difficult for many people to write or read when the map is complete. Many try to read the left side of the diagram from left-to-right and end up with ideas that look like Yoda wrote them down. “This isn’t good” although some would think it is cool to say “Good isn’t this” with the implied acumen of Yoda.Here is a typical radial mind map with the major idea in the center and secondary and tertiary ideas radiating out from the center.The example is from a recent blog post on some advantages that mind mapping might make for persons with dementia (PWDs) or those with cognitive impairment. I wrote this in the traditional Buzan radiant style. The prior post gives a rationale for, and explanations of, the mind map.

Radial (Circular)

What happens when the radial mind map is oriented left-to-right. Here is a first sample of the re-orientation. Is this this the way you normally think when you read (left-to-right)? Most importantly, when you take into account that physicians and other healthcare providers are used to working in a left-to-right world, the left-to-right structure is more compelling when one READS a mind map.

Left

Here is a second variation on the left-to-right concept. Some may find this easier to unambiguously read.

Top

Buzan argues that all mind maps should have curved branches because those are more “interesting” to the easily bored brain. I don’t agree with Buzan on this matter because a linear format with straight branches seems to be more UNDERSTANDABLE to me for those who primarily read mind maps others have created. Here is the same mind map with a left-to-right format and straight branches.For the purposes of reading or filling out a standardized template, the left-to-right linear map may be clearer to the cognitive challenged or to those who handle large amounts of conceptual data daily and cannot afford to make errors (healthcare providers).

Left Linear

How do I reconcile the differences and strengths among these four formats.

  1. I believe that it is easier to WRITE or BRAINSTORM or CREATE in the radiant format. The radiant design has the advantage of clearly indicating the most important parts of the idea or information. Important information appears in the center and branches and sub-branches gradually emerge.
  2. But for reading or processing formation from one person to another or filling a pre-designed form, the left-to-right linear format may be the best or at least the easiest format for people to quickly and accurately transmit information. And the linear left-to-right format is a natural for healthcare where information is transmitted hundreds of times through both individual hands and scanned documents that may also be computer interpreted or reformatted for databases. And the left-to-right format with linear branches is probably the easiest to understand by a person with cognitive impairment or unfamiliarity with the radial format of rigidly Buzan-style maps.

If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I have thousands of mind maps lying around that were created with a traditional radial format. How long does it take me to convert a radial mind map into a left-to-right oriented one? TEN MINUTES in the program iMindMap created by Chris Griffiths in tandem with Tony Buzan. Conversion is a semi-automated process that requires some judgment about the final arrangement of the branches. But if a person who WRITES or CREATES the radial mind map and then converts it to a left-to-right format to COMMUNICATE to patients and doctors and nurses and more doctors and then the patient again, that little extra knowledge about mind map USERS is readily available.

To summarize, I find it easiest to create (write) new content in the radial format but strongly suspect that most users will find it easier to read that content in one of the left-to-right formats.

But, remember that I am working in the field of healthcare. And, I believe that mind mapping can help me live better with several medical conditions I have.

My solution will be to present two alternately formatted mind maps on this blog and in explanatory articles and manuals.That is, for many I will include both a radial mind map for further brainstorming and editing and rewriting and a left-to-right linear or almost-linear map for readers and others who find the traditional reading orientation best.Some readers will find the radial format most valuable. Some readers will find the left-to-right format more useful. In general, the choice of radial versus left-to-right is one that rests on the content of the map, the intended audience, the overall system in which the information is being used, and an understanding of the typical cognitive functioning and training of the intended audience.And it does not hurt to present the information in both formats so that everyone is covered and also becomes familiar with both formats.Does current neuroscience prefer one of these formats over the other? I do not find any compelling research (when I find any research at all) that shows radial diagrams are superior to left-to-right ones. Such evidence did not exist in the 1970s and it does not seem to exist now, although research will continue and we will need to adjust our conclusions as more “definitive” findings are produced with better equipment, better research designs, and better data.

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HITMM 2016

Click here for an index of all HITMM 2016 posts.

I would categorize the pioneering efforts of Tony Buzan and many others to introduce and popularize the method of mind mapping as Mind Mapping 1.0. While mind map program vendors, sellers of consulting and training services, and others sometimes get quite loud in arguing who was the “inventor” of the method, I see claims of who invented what to be primarily marketing ones similar to those used in advertising colas, laundry detergents, and personal hygiene products. The identification of the organization or individual most responsible for making the method practical and useful is much more important than the term “inventor.” It is very clear to me that Tony Buzan was the one who took many ideas about visual thinking, the primitive neuroscience of the day (1970s), creativity, brainstorming, and management and formed it into a coherent and useful model of “mind mapping.” Had he not, the majority of the other players in the field would not be following his suggestions and rules (or arguing vociferously against them) or frequently copying his computer program.

The parameterizations and resulting computer programs by ThinkBuzan, Topicscape, Mindjet, and others comprise Mind Mapping 2.0. Buzan’s ideas and those of many others were incorporated into efficient and accessible computer programs that opened the mind mapping methods to a far larger audience of students, managers, and others.The iMindMap program by Griffiths and his colleagues at Open Genius is by far the best of the lot. Over time, the best programs have evolved into more general visual thinking environments I term these VITHENs) which feature mind maps as the core element but allow the author to show supporting data on the map or as annotations. Annotations can be links, graphs, comments, citations, and other forms of information that support the map or add expert justifications. Technical improvements in these programs are still frequently introduced. I consider Mind Mapping 2.0 to have been more important than Mind Mapping 1.0, and the contributions of Griffiths to how visual thinking should look and be implemented to be seminal.

Mind Mapping 4.0

[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.

Mind Mapping 3.0’s primary characteristic is that it emphasizes content within the mind map. Mind mapping has evolved from its start as a method which emphasized brainstorming, management observations, and business functions (calendars, timelines, responsibilities) into a much general form that permits the development of knowledge databases and models, communicates history and science, and can organize the rules of English for those learning the language.

Mind Mapping 4.0 goes far beyond Mind Mapping 3.0 as each map is created from the perspective of an expert both in the content area (such as dementia or memory or stress or the plays of Shakespeare or the development of the nuclear age) and the application of specific and unique styles of mind mapping to maximize the utility of the resulting mind maps.

The expert mind maps may then be turned into templates suitable for distribution to end users (such as healthcare providers, patients-clients, caregivers, managers, employees, educators, students, scholars, politicians, news reporters, engineers and hundreds of other end user groups. The key feature is that an expert is able to combine a high level of knowledge and expertise in the content area of the map with very advanced “formatting” methods (colors, fonts, organic or boxed styles, and others of format styles in the Buzan guidelines) using the very best combination of these for the subject matter, template users, objectives of the map, and for enhancing wanted outcomes and minimizing unwanted ones. Additionally, the expert needs to decide whether to use Buzan’s fairly standard and rigid rule of one word per branch in the mind map, Huba’s flexible, more valid judgment-based rule of one concept per branch, some combination of the two, or another innovative approach.Mind Mapping 4.0 is a highly accurate description of content (substantive) knowledge by an expert who also has the highest level of mind mapping expertise or collaborates in a team with an expert in mind mapping.

Does an “expert” in content matters need to have graduated from a specific degree program, taken a specific set of courses, had a certain number of hours of classroom or practicum hours, or obtained a specific professional license? I believe the answer to be ABSOLUTELY NOT. While formally educated professionals are typically content experts in some areas of specialization, this is not universally the case. Many people running around with doctoral-level training are not content experts in any area and many draw conclusions outside their areas of expertise. And certain topics (such as patient perceptions on disease or feelings or creative solutions to conflicts) are almost universally ignored by “advanced degree” content experts.In addition to the formally educated experts, there are many people who have become experts in various content areas through life experiences, self-teaching, on the job observations and inspirations, brainstorming, synthesizing the views of others, the experiences of disease and achievement, and personal research.

These are true experts. As was often said in earlier prehistoric times (the 1950s and 60s), they are graduates of the “School of Hard Knocks.” Among other famous graduates from this form of education is Bill Gates.In Mind Mapping 4.0, experts in some content area (a medical disease, mindfulness, best practices for management, the exploits of Henry the VIIIth, the history of caffeine addiction, the poor decisions of George W Bush, trends in high fashion, urban dictionaries, the characters of Star Wars, the jokes of Groucho Marx) use their knowledge, supporting data, research, synthesis, and creative insights to develop mind maps. With expertise in the possibilities of mind maps and their usage, in Mind Mapping 4.0, definitive content can be presented in mind maps that “bend” formal rules of mapping and present the best ways of formatting maps for the audience, type of information, intended actions, memory retention, creative insight, novelty, humor, and acceptance of new ideas, as well as unambiguous and easily understood communication.

In Mind Mapping 4.0, the presentation of new thinking and excellent information is enhanced and supported by the use of the “best” techniques of mind mapping tailored to the purposes for which the map was developed.Mind Mapping 4.0 should produce easily understood maps that can be translated into templates that can be widely used by others (as some examples consider such content as medical symptoms and disease screening, pharmaceuticals, recommended treatments, cautions, coming trends, and research findings in the areas of healthcare where I work).

Some characteristics and concepts of Mind Mapping 4.0.Click the mind map to expand it.

MIND MAPPING 4.0 RISE OF EXPERT MAPS AND TEMPLATES

The following presentation presents one section of the mind map at a time. If you would like to go through the presentation at your own speed, click the stop button in the presentation and use the arrow keys to navigate

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This post is part of Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping. Click here for an index and links to the other posts.

HITMM Button

In a prior post, I discussed my theory of how and why mind mapping is useful for people with impaired cognitive functioning and dementia. I noted there that the same general theorem could be applied to those with typical cognitive functioning. The difference between the mind map in this post and that of the prior post is how about a dozen branches are relabelled. This map emphasizes making “healthy” brains closer to optimal functioning. The prior post used the language of a “disease” or “disorder” that might be worked around by using a mind map as an assistive device.

Click HERE to see the prior post.

Click the image below to expand its size.

HUBA'S THEORY REASON MIND MAPPING WORKS FOR PEOPLE WITH TYPICAL COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING

 

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© 2015 g j huba phd <===> a HubaMap™

this is NOT 2015

This post is part of Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping. You can access an index and links to the other posts about the theory by clicking here.

HITMM 2016

The Integrated Theory goes beyond any explanation of mind mapping for individuals with or without cognitive impairment that I have ever read and I am pretty familiar with the mind mapping literature as well as major extant theories in neuroscience.

Click on the mind map to expand it.

HUBA'S THEORY REASON MIND MAPPING WORKS FOR PEOPLE WITH COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT OR DEMENTIA

And, you ask, does this theorem also apply to those with typical brain functioning such as the typical managers at IBM needing to learn creativity and organization, students in schools from primary grades to students-for-life learning all types of curricula, healthcare providers, researchers, educators, the guy in the next cubicle who can never remember his meetings. Yes. The labels on the branches are a little different but the concepts are identical.

Huba’s Integrated Theory as applied to “typical” thinkers is discussed HERE.

Concerned that the theory looks kind of simple? It is actually quite complex. I spent more than a year trying to formulate it as simply as possible..

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© 2015 g j huba phd <===> a HubaMap™

 

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The focus of the blog is on the issues shown below. If you click on the image, it will expand.

hubaisms

Click Links Below for Selected Posts

Dementia

Healthcare

Healthcare Reform

Mind Maps/Mapping/Models

Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Modeling/Mapping

Writing in Mind Map

Case Management

Self Care

Caregiving

Mental Health

Visual Thinking

Computer Program Reviews

Frontotemporal Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease

Cognitive Decline

“Normal” (Typical) Aging

HIV/AIDS

Big Data

Statistics

Politics

Personal Story (g j huba phd)

Universal Human Rights

Stories from a Lifetime

Hopes and Wishes

Personal Favorites

Hubaisms Blog – WHY?

ALL

Nomenclature: FTD is an acronym for Frontotemporal Dementia, the most common form of young onset (before age 65) dementia.

Mind modeling is an advanced form of mind mapping.

Part 2 of this series can be opened in a new window  by clicking here.

If I had to use one newspaper article of general interest to describe my fascination with mind mapping while I have frontotemporal dementia, I would select one that appeared in the New York Times in 2008. Interestingly the article appeared while I was in the beginning or middle stages of FTD but before diagnosis.

You can open that article in a new window by clicking the image below.

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Here is another article that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal. I literally just read this article for the first time this morning while doing final editing of this post. I say that this was funny to me because I have started wearing old Hawaiian shirts from vacations to the islands of Hawaii I made in the 1990s and 2000s. [There is a reference in this article by EJ Sternberg MD to a man who with FTD who wore Hawaiian shirts every day.] I do note that I wash the shirts after wearing them one time and that it is in the 90s all summer in North Carolina. Click the image to open the article and learn about Hawaiian shirts, art, and frontotemporal dementia.

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There are a number of similar articles on the Internet.

While I have only rarely (as an example of what you could do) set out to create a mind map that was “Art” (with a capital A), I think many of my thousands of mind maps in this blog can be viewed (as incredibly boring and elementary or interesting and mind capturing) “art” (with a lower case a).

I create mind maps as a way to organize thoughts, manage my life, communicate with others, and document the course of my neurodegenerative condition and methods of coping with it. As art, not really, but I greatly enjoy merging colors and shapes and especially fonts with information and VISUAL THINKING. But over five years, I have gotten pretty good (at least in my estimation) in applying the colors and designs and elements of paintings into my computer-assisted mind maps. As my conception of a traditional Buzan-style mind map has evolved significantly, I have also entered another plane of combining information with elements of art to express my conclusions better and worked out a theory of mind modeling that expanded the concept of the mind map. This blog has more than 750 posts and several thousand mind models/maps ALL created since I have had diagnosed with FTLD (formerly as the PSP variant and then as FTD).

You can access my concept of the MIND MODEL by clicking the link. More important for an INDEX of my mind model theoretical writings, click this second link The results open in a new window.

Based on my experience — and my experience ONLY — I wonder if my use of organic mind models (AKA mind maps) with professional experience, observations, data, and my conclusions show how artistic impulses can be combined with mind models as a communication method during various stages of FTD.

Below are some examples of my recent mind models (AKA mind maps). Art is in the eye of the beholder and I hope you have a benevolent eye. Clicking on any of the images will expand its size.

The process of my mind models is described throughout this blog. In simple summary, it takes me 1-2 hours to create one of these mind models (now). When I walk away from the computer I often forget what map I am working on and an hour of two after posting it on my blog I have no idea what my most recent posts were and I have to go to the web site and look at the index. However, when I open a post and look at the map for even a minute or two, I can immediately recover my logic for creating it.

Yeah, it baffles me too even after 35 years of practice as a psychologist doing research on altered states of consciousness (drug abuse and its treatment), imagery and daydreaming, elder abuse and dementia, aging and nursing models, mental illness, neuropsychological testing, and evaluating healthcare and social care.

During this same period of neurodegenerative disease I have become a rudimentary sketch noter, doodler, and sketcher who spends several hours a day “playing” with pens and pencils and more recently watercolor inks and an assortment of typing papers and artist sketch pads. Am I any good at that stuff. NO. But, it does help organize my life and plan and remember. Most importantly, it makes me feel calmer and happy.

Click on the images to expand them.

What Does Living Well with Dementia Mean

Trust Findings from [Peer-Reviewed] Health Professional Meetings I Can Sell You Idaho or California.

Mind Model vs Organic-Style Mind Map

Persons with Dementia and Family Caregivers Partnership and Reciprocal Relationship

Adult Coloring Books & Imaginative Drawing & Doodling & MindModeling & Aging

To Live Well with Dementia You Need to Commit to Being a Life-Long Learner

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And I typically make between 10-50 like doodles like the following examples daily, often while watching TV or sitting in my bright kitchen looking out the window. It helps soothe the savage beast! And, I am especially obsessed with color shades.

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Anxiety is a huge issue for people with dementia. My observations of why this occurs — based on my own experiences — are shown in the MindModel™ [AKA MindMap] below.

Click on the image to expand it.

PWDs [Persons with Dementia] Experience Huge Amounts of Anxiety Here's Why

 

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Wonder what the difference is between a Huba-style MindModel™ and a Buzan-style MindMap is and why the MindModel is much more effective? Click here to find out.

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.

A mind map/mind model with recommendations.

mind mapping programs adaptable to mind modeling

 

 

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HITMMMM

 

This is an extremely important research article supporting processes that are presumably engaged in mind mapping and sketchnoting.

The study is too small to be accepted as “proving” or “strongly supporting” the “drawing effect,” but should it be replicated in a much larger sample, it would strongly suggest the efficacy of mind mapping, sketchnoting, and other visual thinking methods for memory recall.

If replicable, the study supports Huba’s Integrated Theory of Mind Mapping. A free PDF of the study report is currently available without cost online.

Thanks to Dorlee Michaeli (@SWcareer on Twitter) for bringing the study to my attention.

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The_Zombie_Thinking

 

I have a neurodegenerative disease for which there are no approved and proven medical treatments. [Click here for more information.]

In my blog on Hubaisms.com I discuss and demonstrate cognitive and behavioral techniques (NOT treatments but ways to deal with day-to-day life) when your cognitive functions are decreasing dramatically.

I am running an N=1 study on myself. I try methods, I report the results. I enjoy extending my prior career and I benefit from it.

lab mouse

Definitive science? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But suggestive of methods which might be explored further. I do not have the time or research resources to run necessary studies on hundreds of people. But I do have a 35 year career as a well-respected psychological methodologist behind me and I use this experience to try to ensure that I do not over-interpret my “findings.”

Recommended for you or an elderly family member? Ask your doctor. Every person and set of circumstances is different.

Treatment? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Just inexpensive and easy-to-learn cognitive-behavioral methods of coping with the effects of decreasing brain power. There is no evidence at this time that changes in the brain occur.

Worth It? Seems to be for ME.The cost in $s is only a few hundred per year for a mind mapping program, a tablet or Mac or PC to run it on, and possibly a few inexpensive books. I am not selling you anything. If you would prefer, you should be able to replicate any of the mind mapping examples I demonstrate here with a few colored pencils or pens and a pad of paper, all of which you probably own already. I prepare mind maps that help me remember doctor appointments and names and vacations and the rest of my life. The maps help me plan, learn, communicate with others, tell my story, “sort out” medical information, and relax because I am doing something useful. I use both computer programs and hand-drawn methods for generating mind maps. MY quality of life is better (and I say that unequivocally).

Please join the discussion and help evaluate the findings.

Over on the left is a button for accessing ALL blog posts in reverse chronological order. I would start there. It will give you a sense of the range of topics I cover.

If you are interested in my take on the theory of mind mapping (or in my expanded view, mind modeling), click the button for HITMM.

Click the following mind maps to expand them. [Individual posts in the blog explain these maps in detail.]

Live long and prosper.

Mind Mapping with Dementia Me and My Mind MapsI REFUSE TO SUFFER WITH DEMENTIAHELPING A FAMILY MEMBER WITH DEMENTIA ENJOY BIG HOLIDAYS

 

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2Suggestions for Dementia Family Caregivers About Protecting Money and Related Resources of People with DementiaMEDICAL PRACTICES SHOULD BE USING MIND MAPS WITH THEIR PATIENTS-CLIENTSMIND MAPPING AS A CASE (CARE) MANAGEMENT TOOLHUBA'S THEORY REASON MIND MAPPING WORKS FOR PEOPLE WITH TYPICAL COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING

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Oh, let’s not forget my collaborator and part-time therapist Sabra …

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Governments and other public entities are increasing their use of web sites as the primary publication outlet for medical, human services, and research information.

The transition to electronic publication saves money as well as other resources and at the same time is much more environmentally-friendly. At least a few forests in the world owe their lives to the decision of some of the largest paper users in the world to move to electronic publishing.

Electronic publishing offers a special advantage not generally available in traditional publishing on paper. On the Internet it costs no more to include colors, simple and complex images, and images that expand to show greater detail. And it is much less expensive for publications to present, in addition to their traditional text, graphics maximized facilitate creative thinking, memory retention, “big picture thinking,” and explanations that may be easier for individuals using other languages and from other cultures to understand.

Not everyone in the world does their primary thinking using words. Many — including me — find visual information more valuable, easier to assimilate, and more supportive of creative insights.

How often do you see a #MindMap, #ConceptMap, #FlowDiagram, or other visual representation on a government web site? While there are plenty of pie diagrams and line charts, such representations of data are quite limited and do NOT incorporate informed interpretation of information. Also, while there are plenty of pictures on government web sites, these images do NOT incorporate informed interpretation of information and they may give a quite biased view of data.

I do not recall ever seeing a #MindMap, #ConceptMap, or #FlowDiagram on the (otherwise extremely useful and high quality) web sites of the US Social Security Agency, the abstracts in the PubMed medical and scientific information databases, and the US government’s explanations of research and social programs, diseases and social conditions, and social service eligibility forms.

World-wide thinking is increasingly visual. Official information should be presented using both the traditional text-based methods currently employed AND newer, very effective methods of visual thinking. The brain is not limited to a single form of thinking and in fact research shows clearly that some of us (including me) handle visual data far more effectively and perform some of our best work using visual thinking techniques. Research also suggests that as the brain changes through disease processes such as Alzheimer’s disease and other more rare neurodegenerative conditions, as verbal centers suffer damage, visual centers may assume increasing importance.

While I strongly prefer #MindMaps as the method of presenting visual information, I could accept #ConceptMaps, #FlowDiagrams, and other visual thinking representations as at least a first start.

Of the mind mapping methods, I strongly believe that the Buzan-style organic mind maps including color-coding, size-coding, radiant information structures, and methods designed to optimize memory retention, memory retrieval, creativity, and cross-cultural communication are the most effective. A recent addition to mind mapping has been Huba’s method of mind modeling that adds all of the components shown in the figure below.

Click image to expand.

IMPROVING GOVERNMENT INFORMATIONAL WEB SITES

Comedy and tragedy theatrical masks

Upon much further analysis, I have revised my conclusions, April 18, 2016. For my current views click here.

Let’s look at a simple set of perceptual changes and how these may be related to whether people are comfortable with Buzan’s rules of mind mapping.

Please click on the images to increase their size.

All mind maps are generated automatically from ThinkBuzan’s iMindMap program. Consider first Figures 1 and 2. The only difference between the two maps is that the first contains 1 word per branch while the second contains 2 or 3 words per branch. Because the program is parameterized to decrease font size at each new branch, the fonts in the second “incorrect” one seem more important.

The ThinkBuzan Enigma

This second set of figures has font size changes only, Note that the starting font sizes in Figures 1-4 are identical but that those in Figures 3 and 4 decrease less rapidly.

The ThinkBuzan Enigma2

In the top mind map variants (Figures 1 and 2), I used the full default style for iMindMap as it is delivered. The first mind map follows the 1 word rule, while the second uses a 2 word rule.

For Figures 3 and 4, I again used the default style but simply changed the font sizes in the style so that they would not go from large sizes to smaller font sizes quite as rapidly.

Comparing Figures 1 and 2, I want to put more than one word on a branch so it does not seem that the subtopics are dropping in importance so rapidly.

Comparing Figures 3 and 4, I am quite satisfied with having one word on a branch. I note in passing as I look out the window at hundreds of trees in our woods that nature seems to agree with me.

This little experiment came about after a Tweet from Tony Buzan (@Tony_Buzan) about changing one of my mind maps he liked from several words per branch to a single word per branch. I went back over the set of 100+ mind maps I had posted in this blog and realized that my shift from a few to one word per branch in the past few months coincided with starting to manually adjust the ThinkBuzan font size arrays in the styles supplied with the program. It strikes me that something that was not a problem in the era of hand drawn maps because artists would individually adjust font sizes and branch widths for importance now gets handled through a purely mathematically algorithm in all of the automated programs we (almost) all use for mind maps.

Once I started to tweak iMindMap a little in this way (and some other ways, see future blog posts), I came to agree with rules much than I had by taking the program implementation as the gold standard. My inference is that my belief that iMindMap is greatly improved by a little simple tweaking is shared with Hans Buskes (@HansBuskes) as his excellent blog “mastermindmaps” shows such enhancements on a regular basis.

I believe that the Buzan one-word per branch rule is correct but the implementations may need to be tweaked slightly in many of the programs including that of ThinkBuzan. Thanks to Tony and Hans for pushing me to formalize what I had concluded about decreasing font sizes (specifically, if they decrease too fast you want to put more than one word on the branch).

While it is possible to make up more extreme examples, this simple one seems to make the point.