Mind map

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A mind map or mindmap is a multicoloured and image centered radial diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of learned material. For example, it can graphically illustrate the structure of government institutions in a state. Once a mind map is well-structured and well-established, it can be subject to review (e.g. with spaced repetition). The uniform graphic formulation of the semantic structure of knowledge may help reconsolidation of memories and it is sometimes advertised as a way of increasing motivation to work on a task.

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Mind_Mapping.JPG
Example of a mindmap
Contents

Origins

People have been using graphic organizers for centuries, although the claim to the origin of the mind map has been made by a British popular psychology author, Tony Buzan. He claimed the idea started forming as he wrote An Encyclopedia of the Brain and Its Use in 1971. He argues that 'traditional' articles rely on the reader to scan left to right and top to bottom, whilst what actually happens is that the brain will scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. He also uses popular assumptions about the cerebral hemispheres in order to promote the exclusive use of mind mapping over other forms of note making.

The use of the term "Mind Maps" is trade-marked by The Buzan Organisation, Ltd. in the UK [1] (http://webdb4.patent.gov.uk/tm/number?detailsrequested=C&trademark=1424476) and the USA [2] (http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=73823774&action=Request+Status), though the trade-mark does not appear in the records of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office [3] (http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/cipo/welcome/welcom-e.html).

The structure of a mind map has a similar but simplified radial structure compared to that of the earlier original concept map, which was developed by learning experts in the 1960s.

Uses of Mind Maps

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Guru_Mindmap.jpg
A hand-drawn mind map
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Mindmap.gif
Rough mindmap notes taken during a course session

Tony Buzan claims that mind mapping has many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including note-taking, a modified variant of brainstorming (ideas are judged and put into an organized structure as opposed to the classical brainstorming where judgement is reserved for later stages), summarizing, revising and general clarifying of thoughts. For example, one could listen to a lecture and take down notes using mind maps for the most important points or keywords. One can also use mind maps as a mnemonic technique or to sort out a complicated idea. Mind maps are also promoted as a way to collaborate in colour pen creativity sessions. Some of the literature around mind-mapping has made claims that one can find the perfect lover, combat bullying, persuade clients, develop intuitive powers, create global harmony, and tap the deeper levels of consciousness by using mind mapping techniques.

Claims have also been made, including in some advertising for mindmapping software and literature, that managers and students have said that they find the techniques of mind mapping to be useful, being better able to retain information and ideas than by using traditional 'linear' note taking methods.

Mindmaps can be drawn by hand, either as 'rough notes', for example, during a lecture or meeting, or can be more sophisticated in quality. Examples of both are illustrated. There are also a number of software packages available for producing mind maps (see below).

Mind mapping guidelines

These are the foundation structures of a Mind Map, although these are open to free interpretation by the individual:

  1. Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours.
  2. Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
  3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
  4. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
  5. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
  6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
  7. Use colours – your own code – throughout the Mind Map.
  8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
  9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
  10. Keep the Mind Map clear by using Radiant hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

(See: BUZAN, Tony. The Mind Map Book. Chapter "Mind Mapping Guidelines").

Scholarly research on mind mapping

Buzan (1991) claims that the mind map is a vastly superior note taking method because it does not lead to the alleged "semi-hypnotic trance" state induced by the other note forms. Buzan also claims that the mind map utilizes the full range of left and right human cortical skills, balances the brain, taps into the 99% of your unused mental potential, and taps into your intuition (which he calls "superlogic"). There has been research conducted on the technique which suggests that such claims may actually be marketing hype based on urban myths about the brain and the cerebral hemispheres.

There are benefits to be gained by applying a wide range of graphic organizers, and it follows that the mind map specifically, is limited to only a few learning tasks. Research by Farrand, Hussain, and Hennessy (2002) found that the mind map technique had a limited but significant impact on recall only, in undergraduate students (a 10% increase over baseline for a 600-word text only) as compared to preferred study methods (a −6% increase over baseline). This improvement was only robust after a week for those in the mind map group, and there was a significant decrease in motivation compared to the subjects' preferred methods of note taking. They suggested that learners preferred to use other methods because mind mapping was an unfamiliar technique, and its status as a "memory enhancing" technique engendered reluctance to apply it. Pressley, VanEtten, Yokoi, Freebern, and VanMeter (1998) found that learners tended to learn far better by focusing on the content of learning material rather than worrying over any one particular form of note-making. Indeed, applying the range of college techniques that Buzan (1991) dismisses leads to more than 40% increase in learning (Novak 1993) compared to mind mapping.

To date, there is no empirical evidence to support claims that mind mapping can balance or make better use of each cerebral hemisphere in comparison with any other mental activity.

Tools

Software ranging from freeware to high-level commercial applications or free software (open source) have implemented mind mapping.

  • MindManager is a commercial mind-mapping software by MindJet. Running on MS Windows operating system and integrated with MS Office.
  • NovaMind is a commercial mind-mapping application for Mac OS X. Features include arbitrary branch shapes, a branch proposal system, and integrated screenplay support.
  • Thinking with Pictures (http://www.logo.com/cat/view/thinking-pictures.html) is commercial highly visual model mapping software for children running on MS Windows.
  • MyMind (http://www.sebastian-krauss.de/software/) (Shareware) for Mac OS X can generate a structured map from an outline.
  • FreeMind, mind-mapping software licensed under GNU General Public License.
  • kdissert (http://freehackers.org/~tnagy/kdissert/) is an open-source mind-mapping application for unices and MS Windows.
  • VYM for Linux (http://www.insilmaril.de/vym/)
  • HeadCase (http://www.loanedgenius.com) is the first application to adhere to the Mind Mapping laws and make "hand-drawn" Mind Maps.

These tools can be used effectively to organise large amounts of information, combining spatial organisation, dynamic hierarchical structuring and node folding.

See also

References

  • Buzan, T. (1991). The Mind Map Book . New York: Penguin.
  • Farrand P, Hussain F, Hennessy E. Med Educ. (2002) "The efficacy of the 'mind map' study technique". May;36(5):426-31. EBSCOHost. Retrieved May 5th, 2005.
  • Novak, J. D. (1993). How do we learn our lesson? : Taking students through the process. The Science Teacher, 60(3), 50-55.
  • Pressley, M., VanEtten, S., Yokoi, L., Freebern, G., & VanMeter, P. (1998). "The metacognition of college studentship: A grounded theory approach". In: D. J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in Theory and Practice (pp. 347-367). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.

External links

de:Mindmap fr:Mind_mapping ja:マインドマッピング no:Tankekart ru:Mindmap zh-cn:心智图

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