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Mind mapping

Mind mapping is a new and effective way of organising one's thoughts. It is often used in business, to record notes at a meeting, to plan a project, or to prepare for a presentation, for example.

Origins of mind mapping

Mind mapping has its origins in the results of research into the human brain. To put it very simply, brain cells have a central body with a lot of "branches", rather like the branches of a tree, which radiate from the centre or nucleus of the cell. The "branches" carry the information transmitted by the cell. All along the branches are bundles of chemicals which carry messages. As a message is passed from brain cell to brain cell, pathways are formed which create a kind of memory map. It is said that the more pathways which are created, the more efficient thinking becomes.


Two of the most important aspects of memory are association and emphasis. The brain has a kind of database of information. When we learn something new, we tend to store the new information by associating it with something we have already stored. It is easier to remember something new if it is stored in this way. We also easily remember new things that are emphasized as being unique or very important.

What is a mind map?

Mind mapping is a graphic technique used for note-taking, preparing projects, etc. Instead of writing everything down in a linear manner, the mind mapper produces a graphic "map" which may have a similarity to networks in the brain. Like a brain cell, every mind map has a central point. This can be an image or a word. This is the main focus and it represent the main subject of the map. Then, the most important themes connected to the subject branch out from the central image or word. There are then smaller branches linked to the main ones. All the branches form a connected structure. The mind map also uses the ideas of association and emphasis thought to be so important for learning and memory. To draw a mind map, you need to be aware of associated facts and also of hierarchies so that you know what to emphasize in your map. So, the first thing to do is to decide on your central subject, then to draw the main branches, which represent the important themes. Then you can add the sub-branches.

In the next issue of POSTSCRIPT
we will have an example of mind mapping:
"Chairing a meeting"

Here is an example:

Mind map

What are the advantages of using mind maps?

  • They help you to focus on key words and concepts which often become hidden in linear notes
  • They help you to store related facts together
  • They help you to be aware of hierarchies
  • Mind maps can help in decision making because they allow you to look at all the complex and inter-related information you need to consider
  • They help you to organise and plan your objectives for a meeting, presentation or project
  • They encourage creative thinking
  • They can be created by both individuals and groups
  • They can help in problem solving because they encourage you to think of all possible aspects of a problem and various potential solutions

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