Not all visual maps are created equal: The cognitive style of visual maps

Not all visual maps are created equal. The best maps:
1. help us align our ideas with the real world and real action, and;
2. help us to avoid costly pitfalls associated with forcing real-world phenomena (square peg) into a particular cognitive style (round hole).

It is important to evaluate the cognitive style that underlies visual mapping tools and techniques before using them to have better ideas that lead to better action.

The most powerful maps are constructed based on how we structure our thoughts and ideas. Tools like ThinkBlocks and Plectica mapping software are based on two important scientific findings: (1) visualization and tactile manipulation increase cognitive function and (2) the underlying architecture of these visual and tactile tools should align with our own cognitive architecture. When both of these criteria are met, using technology can enhance human intelligence.

A few of the most popular approaches to visual mapping are: a) mindmaps, b) concept maps, c) network maps, and d) dsrp network maps. Underlying each of these visual approaches is an architecture: the implicit or explicit structure of the map style. This architecture is usually (although not always) predicated on assumptions about how the human mind structures information, or inversely how human knowledge (subject matter, etc.) is structured.

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