Psycho-Semantic Mind-Mapping


There are various ways to represent ideas important in organizing and executing projects. In general, where flowcharts are built on reasoning, mindmaps are built on feelings.  Flow charts show carefully organized step-by-step mechanistic relationships between key elements of problem solving;  mind maps represents spontaneous and presumably more authentic personal intuition and feelings.  Often mind-maps flush new and valuable ideas from the subconscious and indicate the feelings that motivate.  


A flow chart is a best estimate of cause-and-effect flow of information.   EXAMPLES:



DEEP analysis of the flow of information within and between student and teacher


MIND MAPS are not simple flowcharts of interacting components.  They include tangible elements but also (especially) emphasize the MEANING of an idea by connecting them to subconscious ideas.   The principle is that all subconscious background to an idea affects its real meaning–the uniquely individual meaning that goes far more deeply that mere dictionary definitions.

  Mind maps (also called “concept maps”) are visual representations of what’s on your mind with particular attention to a specific target concept.  It is a kind of “free association” exercise in which you rapidly write down things that come to mind.   When you create one of these you may be amazed at some of the associations.  It essentially taps into IMPLICIT levels of consciousness which — because of your impulsiveness or spontaneity in expressing them  — may be important components of the EXPLICIT concept.  All concepts are built up from preceding experiences as your brain has more-or-less enabled you to perceive them and their interactions with each other.


A.K.A.: Concept maps a similar visual representations of ideas.   and see Wikipedia on MIND MAP –this can be a wonderful way of organizing thoughts, but is also an instrument of DISCOVERY.

A distinctive feature of mind-mapping in Art and Organism is its emphasis on speed and spontaneity.   In the manner of a “free-association” test,  doing this as quickly as possible is likely to evoke associations that that might never have been represented if you were thoughtful about your map -BUT which are nevertheless an important part of its meaning to you.  You will express connections to implicit or intuitive ideas in a nonjudgmental way.  Its spontaneity will result in a more authentic representation of what the focal term means to you.


The spider web (the matrix of interconnected meanings that defines the idea at the center of a mindmap looks like a spider web)  (a coincidence? read The spider web of experience (then [tangent alert] dive deeper: the thoughts of a spider web)

_____  _____

Psycho-Semantic Mind-Mapping


Psycho-Semantic mind-mapping is a strategy for graphically representing the meaning of a concept for an individual. Personal meaning is presumed to consist of an individual’s  explicit and implicit associations A psycho-semantic word map can motivate and encourage a participant to explore the extended personal meaning of a concept by seeing its associations or resonances with related terms or phrases.  A powerful source of insight is comparison with the maps of other individuals based on the same concept.   For example, a map centered on the word “art” may for one individual lead to associations emphasizing the products of great artists while in another the words spontaneously associated might emphasize the processes of art.


There are three components to a psycho-semantic map:

1. Core question or concept: this is a key word or outline phrase that is the main focus of the map.

2. Strands: subordinate ideas that help explain or clarify the main concept. These are generated by individuals in a manner akin to pre-reflective free-associations of words that come to mind.

3. Authenticity: rapid pre-reflective associations are believed to be more authentic, emphasizing the individual’s genuine associations and not what they think they need no say to conform to societal norms or expectations.

The psycho-semantic  map is inspired by and resembles mechanistic flow-charts or “mind-maps” in which associated ideas  are laid out and organized in patterns to characterize an concept in a comprehensive and scholarly way. Such maps represent one’s mastery of a topic and generally emphasize all known culturally relevant variables pertaining to a specific question and anticipated questions. Uncensored psycho-semantic maps, on the other hand reflect the uniqueness of the individual and support a sense of autonomy and ownership as well as enabling insights derived from comparisons with classmates that enlarge a topic’s meaning end enhance intersubjectvity


“The levels of organization we are mostly concerned with in the classroom emphasize perception and cognition at the center, and the immediate aspects of body just beneath (embodied cognition) and the immediate aspects of the environment just above—including intersubjectivity and sociocultural embeddedness (socially situated cognition)—all are incorporated in the lifeworld.”  (Greenberg 2019)

In art and literature, various devices are used to manifest (or simulate) the expression of pre-reflective or preverbal thought, believed to represent greater authenticity.  Most prominent is stream of consciousness writing, grass-writing[ii], action painting.  It is an element of the appeal of much outsider art.   




Psycho-semantic Mind-maps were discussed as a teaching/learning tool in a lecture presented at a conference in Virginia in 2020: “Personal and Shared Meaning”