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Mind mapping provides clues to human thinking? Not really.


In “Charles Manson, Please Save Marriage & Family Therapy”, family therapist David Schnarch pleads for a reconsideration of “mind-mapping”,

Applied neuroscience is a hot topic among mental health professionals, and there are two different views of mind-mapping in ascendance: One is based on attachment theory, which proposes that mind-mapping develops by parents giving children accurate feedback about who their child is, and parents having a coherent mind and allowing their children to map them. According to this view, people don’t develop mind-mapping ability if this is not valued in their families growing up, or if parents’ minds are not coherent, or if parents’ give children a distorted picture of their own minds. As a result, such children do not develop the ability to understand other people, interpersonal relationships, or themselves. Simply put, as adults they cannot read their partner’s mind, although they can develop this to some degree. This view is uncritically accepted as attachment theory and attachment-based therapy gain popularity within MFT (marriage and family therapy).

The other view, which I support, is that mind-mapping is an inherent ability that emerges spontaneously around age 5-6 as the child’s brain develops. Mind-mapping emerges as a child realizes parents’ minds are capable of a false belief. When your child starts to lie (implant false beliefs) and thinks it’s the funniest thing going, this is proof your child is developing mind-mapping ability. …

Many UD News staff grew up in families where adults routinely told children obvious falsehoods as a sort of homegrown humour, or a way of saying the unsayable. It took the children very little time to realize the point of the falsehood – or the unsayable message. Of course, the kids received plenty of hints, such as facial and body language cues. That was just another method of communication, one we suspect is well developed among people who are not allowed to just say what they think.

It can be much worse:

People who come from the worst backgrounds often have extraordinary mind-mapping ability. If your parents are unpredictable, emotionally explosive, manipulative, exploitive, drug or alcohol abusers, or just plain crazy, you develop mind-mapping ability out of necessity: You want to be able to predict what’s going to happen beforehand. Moreover, you not only get good at mapping other people’s minds, you learn to block your own mind from being mapped. If you are obvious about monitoring an explosive raging father or mother, you become a target. If your manipulative, intrusive, or controlling parent knows what you want or what’s important to you, they use it against you. Mind-mapping is about detecting desire and deception—being able to detect what other people want, in order to predict that they are likely to do.

Intelligence meets intelligence.

Not that a materialist account of the mind could address that.

See also: The Spiritual Brain

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose


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