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Systems diagramming
Systems diagramming

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3.2 Varying cognitive styles

Cognitive style plays a large part in the way we use and see diagrams. Some people tend to prefer linear processes with clear cause and effect, while others prefer associative logic and situations where cause and effect are less clear. Similarly, a distinction can be drawn between those who tend to use exclusive, either/or thinking which can be developed into matrices or algorithms, while others are more likely to use inclusive modes of thought, disliking either/or scenarios and being more comfortable with parallel or multiple processes.

Both approaches – the clarity and linearity sought by some, and the interrelationships considered important by others – are relevant to the use and usefulness of diagrams and need to be considered in each instance where a diagram is being chosen to represent a situation.