Discovering knowledge structures in mind maps of mental health risks

  • Keith Priscott

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis addressed the problem of risk analysis in mental healthcare, with respect to the GRiST project at Aston University. That project provides a risk-screening tool based on the knowledge of 46 experts, captured as mind maps that describe relationships between risks and patterns of behavioural cues. Mind mapping, though, fails to impose control over content, and is not considered to formally represent knowledge. In contrast, this thesis treated GRiSTs mind maps as a rich knowledge base in need of refinement; that process drew on existing techniques for designing databases and knowledge bases.
    Identifying well-defined mind map concepts, though, was hindered by spelling mistakes, and by ambiguity and lack of coverage in the tools used for researching words. A novel use of the Edit Distance overcame those problems, by assessing similarities between mind map texts, and between spelling mistakes and suggested corrections. That algorithm further identified stems, the shortest text string found in related word-forms. As opposed to existing approaches’ reliance on built-in linguistic knowledge, this thesis devised a novel, more flexible text-based technique.
    An additional tool, Correspondence Analysis, found patterns in word usage that allowed machines to determine likely intended meanings for ambiguous words. Correspondence Analysis further produced clusters of related concepts, which in turn drove the automatic generation of novel mind maps. Such maps underpinned adjuncts to the mind mapping software used by GRiST; one such new facility generated novel mind maps, to reflect the collected expert knowledge on any specified concept.
    Mind maps from GRiST are stored as XML, which suggested storing them in an XML database. In fact, the entire approach here is ”XML-centric”, in that all stages rely on XML as far as possible. A XML-based query language allows user to retrieve information from the mind map knowledge base. The approach, it was concluded, will prove valuable to mind mapping in general, and to detecting patterns in any type of digital information.
    Date of Award1 Nov 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorChristopher Buckingham (Supervisor)


    • GRiST
    • FreeMind
    • mind map
    • XML
    • WordNet
    • Levenshtein distance
    • correspondence analysis
    • spelling
    • stemming
    • metadata

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