It is November 2017 and I have found a folder marked Old Files and therein is a treasure trove of personal writings; the constant quest to improve memory; essays written when I was a BESS student at Trinity College Dublin; musings, articles about homeless and social issues; and ways of improving memory. I include this because everything each day is amazing to me. It’s new because I have forgotten. Ironically I most likely forgot or more likely did not have time within my Groundhog Routine driven day to re-read them.
KT my advocate, my partner, we met in November 2003, a man who can write the most incredible satire identified areas in which we could exchange abilities and the outcome was I could type for him and he could edit whatever I wrote, and enforce a rigid routine with reminders and so far it has worked out. As a barrister friend of ours wisely told me – KT makes you laugh and laughing at just about anything is an amazing tonic.
These are the notes I wrote in 2002, probably 3 new computers onward and somehow KT managed to get someone to transfer them from one system to the other. It is 2002 and somehow, somewhere, maybe even in a library I found the book titled Radiant Thinking by Tony Buzan. These are the notes I compiled.
MIND MAP BOOK NOTES (Year: 2001)
“Not learning disabled but
The Amazing Brain:-
- Brain cells = (neurons) 1 million, million.
- Branches of cells = dendrites
- Main exit of Info = axon
- Cerebral cortex = outer shell
Repetition in itself increases the probability of repetition.
November 2017:- Personally my experience is that I cannot learn any sequence by heart. The executive brain is about encoding, sequencing and processing and with damage it makes it impossible to rote learn. However over time the creative brain becomes enhanced and compensates.
The Psychology of Learning
The brain primarily remembers the following:-
- primary effect (beginning of learning period)
- recency effect
- associated items with things or patterns already stored
- emphasised items
- items which appeal to five senses
- items of particular interest to the person
Brain has 5 major functions:-
- receiving (anything taken in by senses)
- holding (memory including retention and access)
- analysing (pattern recognition and information processing)
- outputting (communication, creative act – including thinking)
- Controlling (referring to all mental and physical functions)
Brains in a quandary
Note making or Note taking
Standard notes show an almost complete absence of:–
- visual rhythm
- visual pattern or just pattern
- image (imagination)
- spatial Awareness
- gestalt (wholeness)
Disadvantages of standard notes
- obscure key words
- single colour notes are boring – make it difficult for memory
- time wasting
- fail to stimulate brain creatively
- lose powers of concentration
- time consuming habit
- loss of confidence in mental abilities
- lose love of learning
- boredom and frustration
- harder we work – less progress we make – diminishing returns
Brain thinking pattern
B.A.M. (“Branching Association Machine”) In 2002 there was no Twitter …. and
Mind map has 4 essential characteristics
- subject of attention is crystallized in a central image
- themes radiate from a central image
- branches – keywords printed on an associated line
- branches from connected nodal structure
Mind map is enhanced by colour, pictures, codes, dimension, beauty and individuality. The results are creativity, memory and recall of information. (The well packed ware-house -v- the badly organised one).
November 2017: In theory this is fine but traumatic brain injury leaves you very much in now, no imagination or planning going forward or memory of past or even the recent past. It is a constant requirement to use the same diary and write notes, some of which a day later will make no sense. This is the reason Twitter and Email have played such an important role in my life. I know in the US people have referred to Twitter as a source of “augmented memory” http://www.fastcompany.com/…/this-man-uses-twitter-as-a-prosthetic-device-for-his-.; for me this is the case and I use Twitter with this mode in mind. In a way it is what imagination is and before my accident I had an imagination, and a very good spatial memory also. In the early 1990’s I worked with US Prudential-Bache Corporate Finance in London. I attended a weekend away for a brain-storming exercise. My reality now is that Twitter in particular is what brain storming was then. They suggest the importance of imagery, I don’t even have a sense of self. To visualise comes down not have the thought span to encode and reproduce.
- Apparent problems may turn out to be solutions.
- Brain-storming is the first step towards mind-mapping.
- Images often more evocative than words – more precise and potent to triggering a wide arrangement of associations thereby enhancing creative thinking and memory
- Mini-MM image exercise
Michelle says September 2003:
I have distinctly noticed change recently.
The depression; its cloud; its density; its darkness is altering. The cows (paper mache) in Stephen’s green, the flowers, all dance out at my attention enabling me to engage more actively in the now again with confidence and fear dismissed. There is some link I know – I have been fighting through dense fog for years – something that has affected my perception. The Chaplain at St. Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday spoke of a weekend visit to Croagh Patrick. Many people were there climbing to a cliff face that differed in each perception. This sums up life and how distinctly individual each life is. I know several years ago; before the divorce and as all resources floundered, I sought distraction and this is how I found myself in Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral……..it was auditory then……the choir….the ceremony, the people, the architecture, the culture, the history was enough to keep a hold of attention so easily distracted
Ordering / Structuring your Thinking
Brain’s infinite linking and creative capacity
Introduction to hierarchies and categories – Basic Ordering Ideas (BOI’s)
Instruments … Strings … Percussion
VIOLIN/VIOLA/CELLO / TIMBANI, BONGO, KETTLEDRUM
Journey through the mind of a mind. Linear notes in the form of lists directly oppose the workings of the mind in that they generate an idea and then deliberately cut it off from the ideas preceding and following it.
Once the brain realises that it can associate anything with anything else – it will almost instantaneously find associations – especially when given the trigger of an additional stimulus.
SIMPLE WAY OF DISCOVERING BASIC ORDERING IDEAS IS TO ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.
What knowledge is required?
- If this was a book – what would its chapter headings be?
- What are the specific objects?
- What are the most important seven categories in the area under consideration?
- What are the basic questions? Why – What – Where – Who – How – Which – What??????
Advantages of Mind mapping over linear note-taking
- Time saved – no irrelevant words
- Time saved – reading only relevant words
- Time saved – in reviewing notes
- Time saved – key words available – not verbiage
- Concentration on real issues enhanced
- Essential key words more discernible
- Essential key words juxtaposed in time and space – thus improving creativity and recall.
- Clear and appropriate associations made between key words
- Brain finds it easier to accept and remember visually stimulating, multi-coloured, multi- dimensional mind maps
- MM – verge of new discoveries and new realisations
- MM works in harmony with the brain’s natural desire for completeness and wholeness
- By constantly utilising all its cortical skills, the brain becomes increasing alert and receptive.
November 2017. This is where traumatic brain injury and amnesia/memory deficits change your career/life path. I highlight so that I know I read the article, the book, or even my diary, you see I don’t recall, I cannot structure and I most definitely haven’t space in my attention to engage. Brocas http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK436010/ makes it so much more difficult to speak and convey the way you would like to engage in conversation; for me to write is easier, to read out loud is with great difficulty. I have so many diaries, none follow order because that is no longer possible. You will find handwritten notes of TV programmes I watch and annotate. Again this is like Twitter and augmented memory, it allows me to have some knowledge of current affairs to engage in social banter on a daily basis.
ACCEPT – APPLY – ADAPT
- USE EMPHASIS
- USE ASSOCIATION
- BE CLEAR
- DEVELOP A PERSONAL STYLE
- USE HIERARCHY
- USE NUMERICAL ORDER
- BREAK MENTAL BLOCKS
- ALWAYS USE A CENTRAL IMAGE
- USE IMAGES THROUGHOUT YOUR MM
- USE THREE OR MORE COLOURS PER CENTRAL IMAGE
- USE DIMENSION IN IMAGES
- USE SYNAESTHESIA
- USE VARIATIONS OF SIZE OF PRINTING, LINE, IMAGE
- USE APPROPRIATE SPACING
- 1 KEY WORD PER LINE
- PRINT ALL WORDS
- PRINT KEY WORDS ON LINES
- IMAGERY FOCUSES EYE AND BRAIN
- COLOURS STIMULATE MEMORY AND CREATIVITY
- THE DIMENSIONS !!!!!!!
- OBSCURITY VEILS PERCEPTION
- PRINTING ENCOURAGES BREVITY AND IMPACT
CLOUD – CHILD SHEEP – DINOSAUR
Brain creates images from random shapes
BREAK MENTAL BLOCKS
- add blank lines “Tap in facility”
- ask questions
- add images
- maintain awareness of your infinite associational capacity
- review MM’s
- do quick MM checks
- prepare your mental attitude
- develop positive mental attitude
- copy images around you
- commit to MM
- commit to absurd
workspace/environment “Natural light important”
– fresh air – oxygen – increased perception – surroundings – music/silence
November 2017: I would like to say that with traumatic brain injury this can be done; it can be done in a limited way. I trained as a secretary in the 1970’s and worked for two decades for Chief Executives. The skill set in my case existed so I can revert to that but what I cannot do is create new situations. I have a desktop computer, I have my desk and books placed on it to remind me of authors. I also have two books of quotations which I use as a warm up each day by choosing one or maybe two and sending them out to appropriate tweets.
MM’s improve your hand/eye co-ordination and develop and refine your physical skills
- DYADIC DECIDING (TWO OPTIONS)
- GUT FEEL (“SUPER LOGIC”)
- STUDIES SHOW THAT MANAGERS/PRESIDENTS ATTRIBUTE 80% SUCCESS TO GUT FEEL.
- ONCE YES / NO CHOICE MADE – DO NOT WASTE TIME THINKING ABOUT IT.
DEALING WITH INDECISION Yes or No: Don’t waste time
DECISION MAKING EXERCISES
“SHOULD I DO, CHANGE, BUY”
- History: What are its origins? How did it develop?
- Structure: What form does it take? How is it constructed?
- Function: How does it work? What are its dynamics?
- Role: What does it do? Natural world/Human world
- Classification: How does it relate to other things?
Dyadic maps give brain pre-structured framework.
Organising your own ideas. Dyadic/Poly-categoric approach to note-making
7 max. bits of information can be held in short-term memory
- How / When / Where / Why / Who / What / Which
- Chapters / Lessons / Themes
- Characteristics of things
- Chronological sequence of events
- Form of things
- What things do?
- How things work?
- How good, worthwhile, beneficial things are?
- How things are related to each other?
- What things mean?
- What makes roles/characters people have?
4 MAIN FUNCTIONS OF NOTES
Mnemonic – analytic – creative – conversational
- Establishing a productive “mental set” for note-taking
- Browse entire book getting feel
- Determine Study Time to be allocated and material to be covered
- MM what you already know – grappling hooks
- Define aims and objectives
- Overview text “Table contents, headings, graphs
- Preview beginnings/ends paragraphs, sections, chapters – add to MM
- Inview – skip problem areas
- Review stage – complete MM Jig saw concept.
MNEMONIC TECHNIQUES INVOVLE USE OF IMAGINATION AND ASSOCIATION in order to produce a new and memorable image. The mnemonic device helps to create the past in the present.
APPLICATIONS OF MNEUMONIC MM”s
Recall TV, Radio, Dreams, Articles, To do lists
Search for a lost memory
“Name” – sex – age – appearance – family – prompts
SKILLS COMMONLY ASSOCIATED WITH CREATIVITY, ESPECIALLY IMAGINATION, ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS AND FLEXIBILITY.
STAGES OF CREATIVE THINKING PROCESS
November 2017: The foregoing is virtually impossible for a person with traumatic brain injury particular if executive function/part of the brain is damaged. However, it may take years to realise it but this is where you can kickstart into action and hence the importance of augmented technology.
Quick Fire MM: idea (see centre page) 20 minutes of flowing ideas.
- First reconstruction and revision
- MM aids and reflects intellectual exploration and growth
- Incubation – creativity often borne out of peaceful activities (sleeping, walking, day-dreaming)