Mind Maps are a Powerful Self-Discovery Tool

–By Coralie Raia Darsey-Malloy
Mind maps are, by definition, a graphical method of taking notes. The visual basis of them helps one to distinguish words or ideas, often with colors and symbols. They generally take a hierarchical or tree branch format, with ideas branching into their subsections. Mind maps allow for greater creativity when recording ideas and information, as well as allowing the note-taker to associate words with visual representations. Mind maps and concept maps are different in that mind maps focus on only one word or idea, whereas Concept maps connect multiple words or idea.

Mind maps (or similar concepts) have been used for centuries By by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others. Some of the earliest examples of mind maps were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century, as he graphically visualized the concept categories of Aristotle. Philosopher Ramon Llull (1235 – 1315) also used mind maps.

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps can generate ideas, assist with structure, and classify ideas. They also and aid in study, organization, learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and proactive problem solving

The elements of a given mind map inspire and promote “intutive knowing according to the importance of the concepts. Then they are classified into groupings, branches, or areas, with the goal of representing semantic or other connections between portions of information. Mind maps may also aid recall of existing memories.

By presenting ideas in a radial, graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps encourage a brainstorming approach to planning and organizational tasks. Though the branches of a mind map represent hierarchical tree structures, their radial arrangement disrupts the prioritizing of concepts typically associated with hierarchies presented with more linear visual cues. This orientation towards brainstorming encourages users to enumerate and connect concepts without a tendency to begin within a particular conceptual framework.

The mind map can be used to augment or contrast ideas. The former is based on radial hierarchies and tree structures denoting relationships with a central governing concept, whereas concept maps are based on connections between concepts in more diverse patterns.

Mind maps have many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including notetaking, brainstorming (wherein ideas are inserted into the map radially around the center node, without the implicit prioritization that comes from hierarchy or sequential arrangements. Grouping and organizing can be set aslide for later stages of developing orsummarizing, revising, and general clarifying of thoughts. One could listen to a lecture, for example, and take down notes using mind maps for the most important points or keywords.

They can also serve as a mnemonic technique or to sort out a complicated idea. It is useful to use different colours during the creativity sessions. To summarize
Mind maps are useful in a wide variety of situations such as:
• Problem Solving
• Outline / Framework Design
• Anonymous collaboration.
• Marriage of words and visuals.
• Individual expression of creativity.
• Condensing material into a concise and memorable format.
• Team building or synergy creating activity.
• Enhancing work morale.


The mind processes with images and using colorful pens adds to creativity and problem solving concepts.

The mind processes with images and using colorful pens adds to creativity and problem solving concepts.

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