The human brain is very different from a computer. Whereas a computer works in a linear fashion, the brain works associatively as well as linearly - comparing, integrating and synthesizing as it goes.Association plays a dominant role in nearly every mental function, and words themselves are no exception. Every single word, and idea has numerous links attaching it to other ideas and concepts.
Mind Maps, developed by Tony Buzan are an effective method of note-taking and useful for the generation of ideas by associations. To make a mind map, one starts in the center of the page with the main idea, and works outward in all directions, producing a growing and organized structure composed of key words and key images. Key features are:
Mind Maps are beginning to take on the same structure as memory itself. Once a Mind Map is drawn, it seldom needs to be referred to again. Mind Maps help organize information.
Because of the large amount of association involved, they can be very creative, tending to generate new ideas and associations that have not been thought of before. Every item in a map is in effect, a center of another map.
The creative potential of a mind map is useful in brainstorming sessions. You only need to start with the basic problem as the center, and generate associations and ideas from it in order to arrive at a large number of different possible approaches. By presenting your thoughts and perceptions in a spatial manner and by using color and pictures, a better overview is gained and new connections can be made visible.
Mind maps are a way of representing associated thoughts with symbols rather than with extraneous words something like organic chemistry. The mind forms associations almost instantaneously, and "mapping" allows you to write your ideas quicker than expressing them using only words or phrases.
More information is available in a Mind Mapping FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Document.
The Software section of this web site contains details of some programs for Mind Mapping. Thes include:
However, the most up-to-date resource on Mind Mapping software can be found at Chuck Frey's Mind Mapping Software Blog which provides business people with a focused collection of resources related to visual mapping - its applications, its benefits, and how to increase your productivity and creativity. I counted links to 24 Mind Mapping programs!
Chuck Frey has published an ebook on selecting the right Mind Mapping software for your needs and can be found at the mind-map-ebook.com web site. The book has an illustrated glossary of mind mapping software terms, tiips on selecting the right program to meet your needs, and mini-reviews of 15 popular mind mapping software programs
Tony Buzan has recently published Mind Maps for Kids
and a brief overview is available
on the Tony Buzan author page.
In Australia, contact the Buzan-certified MindWerx
International - Phone (03) 9482 9018
or visit www.buzan.com.au (Buzan Centre Australia)
Other countries, check the www.imindmap.com web site to find a certified trainer near you.
Some templates developed by Charles Cave to use as starting points for mind mapping a problem.
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Last updated January 2007