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.
I have been a HUGE fan of the Olympics since I was a very little kid. In 1984 I got to go to the Olympic events in Los Angeles every day for two weeks, on many days with my father. That was the year that the Soviet Union boycotted the games because the USA had boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Heck, I thought it was great — the USA and East Germany (who came) won all of the gold medals! Months earlier when local pundits in Los Angeles said Los Angelenos were too apathetic to purchase expensive Olympic tickets especially with the Soviets and most of the Eastern Bloc boycotting as it would not be a real sporting event, I had bought as many tickets for the “finals” as I could get my hands on. Later I sold the extra tickets as Los Angeles fell in love with the games. I made so much money that the expensive tickets I had bought for the entire family of 7 that we used ended up were effectively free since the profits covered the cost of the tickets we used. Street enterprise at its best. My tickets became worth more because the Soviets didn’t come as all Americans became Olympic fans the year we won all the golds.
Winning the race to live well with dementia is like running the 10K race at the Olympics. Everybody has to pace themselves at the beginning so that they can learn about their opponents. In the final stages of the race they speed up and sprint their fasted the last 200 meters.
A mind model of the dementia race strategy is shown below. Click the image to expand it.
I think I am winning my race to live life to its fullest while having dementia. I’m getting ready to claim that gold medal. You can win your race too. Think about what you are doing and strategize like a 10K runner. Learn all you can in the beginning and then speed up later as your new knowledge kicks in.
Mind mapping is a wonderful tool. Many use it to inform others of important facts and make sure those facts are remembered, understood within context, associated as appropriate with other knowledge, communicated well, and result in learning. I endorse the successful use of mind mapping.
Mind mapping is a wonderful tool for informing.
Mind mapping is a wonderful tool for misinforming.
Think about this. If the method makes the learning of “good” information faster and more accurate, it does the same thing for “bad” information, idea garbage, or propaganda.
You need good information to map. You know, the kind that is scientifically proven, well interpreted, important, replicable, unbiased. You know what I mean. (The kind of good information that would never make it onto the Fox Cable network.)
So it is really simple. Show me the source of the information and what evidence supports it. I will decide if it is a diamond or zirconium. Nourishing or poison. Message from heaven or hell. Mac or PC.
Do not tell me you have a map of some important psychological issue when you do not have a single citation to replicable science, or at least well-accepted theory, anywhere in the map or the accompanying text.
The problem of presenting bad information and helping others learn it well is probably the most important when the content is derived from medicine, healthcare, psychology, or education. Personally I care less if a business person hires the wrong management consultant and buys the Brooklyn Bridge, but that is a matter of personal preference and I still would not like to see shareholders hurt. You want to teach it in a way that improves the chances that it is learned? Make sure it is true.
A mind map is a METHOD. The mind map should be used as a METHOD to accurately report correct, important information. A mind map may make information look more valid or important than it is, so the author of the map has to be responsible fully researching the information to be presented BEFORE MAPPING. To map information that you do not fully understand is doing a disservice both to the reader and to your reputation.
Symbols bring back a lot of memories. 1951 and being born (literally) in that tiny corner of the Bronx where Yankee Stadium faced the Polo Grounds (home of the New York, now San Francisco, Giants). My Dad told a story of studying for his college classes while caring for me as an infant and listening to the sounds coming from the two ball parks on the same summer evening. 1957 was the start of a life and elementary school in Massachusetts where my grandfather was the world’s longest suffering Boston Red Sox fan. In 1968 I left high school after 11th grade without graduating with the intention of being a physicist, discovered psychology soon thereafter, and graduated from Fordham College in 1972. In 1976 I left Yale after completing my PhD program. The Yale hat is the most important one of my life. 77 saw me at the University of Minnesota freezing my butt off and the next year I was in Los Angeles at UCLA warming it up. In 1980 I received my psychologist license and then went through the 1980s and 1990s as a committed, harried, stressed out Los Angeleno. In 1988 I started my own company and promptly appointed myself president. The 2000s were a time for becoming a committed North Carolinian, relaxing, and learning to say y’all. 9/11, of course, was the day most Americans started rethinking many issues in their lives.
The important part of this timeline is that these simple symbols mean a lot to ME and each evokes hundreds of direct memories and thousands of extended associations.
There is a lot to be said about trying techniques like this timeline to bring back cherished memories that you haven’t thought about in a while. Maybe the right symbols for you are concerts or movies or births or vacations or stages in the lives of your family members. Consider using symbols; a lot of our memories are encoded around images and not around words.
The University of Minnesota hat evokes some really funny stories like buying an ice cream cone in 20 degree weather (probably in October or April) from an outside vendor and walking down the street not having to worry about drips. Or playing marathon games of pinball or the first video games (pong, pacman) with a fellow assistant professor. That California Angels hat makes me think of standing in line from 2am on to purchase tickets for the American League (baseball) championships and then two or threes weeks later standing in line all night to get opening Saturday tickets for the Empire Strikes Back and becoming one of the first to know Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father. Little things, big things, all stringing together in my memory from various symbols.
You might want to try this yourself. Works for me; may work for you too.
Aside 1: My grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease. Any time you put a Red Sox symbol in front of him you heard about Ted Williams, and the damn NY Yankees, and the Green Monster, and the times he took me to minor league baseball games as a kid, and how good (really bad) I was at baseball, etc. My baseball memories of him are those of the years before the dementia when he multi-tasked (in the 1960s) by having TWO different baseball games going on the radio at once (cacophony in that house) and a baseball game on TV. At times he was reading the then new magazine Sports Illustrated at the same time or the local sports section. If you asked him what had happened recently in any of the three games, he would tell you the last 10 plays or so or what Carl Yastremski had done in his at bats that day. And yes, he took me to at least 50 minor league (AA; Springfield Giants) baseball games every spring and summer. And I’m pretty sure he purchased a hot dog and popcorn for me at every game where we always sat in the same seats behind home plate.
Aside 2: If you look around my office or other living space, you will see that it is filled with small symbols that evoke memories (in my case baseball hats, pens, coffee mugs from meetings and vacations and schools, old office equipment in a big stack). If you look around most homes, you will see something parallel to my office. Why did you think we all patronize the souvenir shops at the national parks and airports and sports stadiums and try to keep our kids out but only half-heartedly? Symbols to organize and elicit memories.
Every day, the Newseum in Washington, DC, receives electronic copies of many of the world’s newspapers. They print them and post at least one from each US state/territory and many from throughout the world.
The next day they start all over again.
It is amazing to see all of these front pages for one day adjacent to one another. The common and the local; the political and the social-entertainment.
3.16.2013. A smattering of those available inside and outside the museum.
Toni Krasnic is an established expert in coaching and student development who is well-known in mind mapping circles as a superstar. Mr. Krasnic has written an accessible, concise, and research-based book on using mind maps and other visual learning tools with beginning students. In my opinion, the methods Mr. Krasnic introduces will be an increasing part of elementary school education in the next few decades. Usually in mind mapping books, the method of mind mapping in one computer program or another is the primary focus of the book. Mr. Krasnic places the emphasis where it should be: on using mind mapping tools to SUPPORT EFFECTIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES. This is a book about learning and teaching and coaching and classroom exercises using visual learning methods. Mr. Krasnic does not tie the book to any commercial product but rather pairs the book content to learning theory, issues, and techniques. Many of the major mind mapping commercial products are introduced and there are many exceptional examples of mind maps that address real learning issues and support skill acquisition. This books is not about a flashy new computer program that makes pretty pictures. The book is about using powerful visual learning methods starting in elementary school and continuing through life to achieve mastery in many learning situations.
For many years, I was a heavy consumer of cable network news. I had (and still have) a TV in my home office that used to run all day on one or more cable news networks. As I started to participate in social networks and blogs and following the links for news suggested by others, I found social networks a much better delivery system for high quality news, comment, discussion than cable news. “Twitter killed the Cable Network News Star.” My observations about social media and cable network news are shown in the mind map below.
topics and subtopics: Cable News Versus Social Media My Conclusions Social Media (Twitter) consensus better less acrimony more cooperative participatory more interesting Traditional Cable News not participatory not multidisciplinary contentious more dogmatic boring talking points Discussed Here cable news Fox NBC CNN CNBC others content knowledge current facts debates learning process issues debates learning acrimony vs harmony consensus cooperation vs competition social media Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Facebook Social Media multiple views citizens professionals politicians students stakeholders repeats short time amplification repetition greater audience greater involvement emotionality controversy no $s most participants no fame illusory illusory in social media factual preferred fosters democratization stakeholder consensus process minimal polarization learning 360 degree knowledge views emotional reactions biases desired outcomes functional reasonably polite positions stated 140 characters news link blog link see many views short time disciplinary stakeholders potential further process steps resolutions solutions in selected networks Cable News divisive competing politicians talking heads financial incentive abrasiveness disagreement politicians attorneys repeats same video clip arguments arguments new video clip interview controversy = profits ratings business plan future fosters competition acrimony polarization selfishness silo thinking dysfunctional group consensus information source not balanced fair valid
Trying to find as many typos and logical inconsistencies on my blog as possible. Darn things seem to breed like cockroaches.
And now a cockroach story … not too ugh …
Got start in psych research in an animal learning lab studying single ganglion learning in cockroaches. Important because of technology 40 years ago and simplicity of cockroach. Got cockroaches across street at the Bronx Zoo (they lived in the warm, food rich animal houses of the time). I see a natural progression in my career from studying the “psychological” processes of cockroaches to writing about Congress.
Update Jan 2 2013: I think I might study snakes next.