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Mindmapping and Visual Tools


Graeme Nixon

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of Mindmapping and Visual Tools

Mindmapping and Visual Tools Tony Buzan – the creator of mind-mapping/radiant thinking
Central questions:
How do I learn how to learn?
What is the nature of my thinking?
What are the techniques for memorising?
How can I enhance creative thinking?

As a student he found that the simple addition of colour to note taking enhanced his learning because it combined 2 cortical skills (colour and language) and was more fun

Mind Maps formally introduced in 1974 (with publication of the Use Your Head)

Buzan estimates that there are 250 million mind mappers worldwide

A Mind Mapper’s Society has been formed. Its aims to “introduce Radiant Thinking, Mind Mapping and Mental Literacy to 100% of the world by 2010. The Brain Theory behind Mind Mapping
The architecture and principles of brain function. Mind Mapping is the natural product of Radiant Thinking - a mirror of effective thinking

“The human brain is an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern…it is as if the milky way entered upon some cosmic dance” (Sir Charles Sherrington)

“Every time you have a thought, the biochemical/electromagnetic resistance along the pathway carrying that though is reduced…after many repetitions you have a wide smooth track…and keep the tracks clear. The more tracks and pathways you can create the clearer, faster and more efficient your thinking will become” (Buzan)

The Mind Map as a work out for the brain Buzan breaks cortical skills down into these areas:
Spatial Awareness Theories of remembering show that we learn best:
1. At beginning (primacy effect)
2. At end of learning sequence (recency effect)
3. Items associated with stored patterns
4. Items identified as unique/outstanding
5. Items associated strongly with the senses
6. tems of personal interest “We have taken the word, the sentence, logic and number as the foundation stones of our civilisation, forcing our brains to use limiting modes of expression which we assume are the only correct ones.”

Buzan hopes to show how the ‘great brains’ escaped this trap = they were radiant thinkers and did not fall into the linear thinking trap – see notes of Picasso and Da Vinci - they notes use: words, symbols, sequence, listing, linearity, analysis, association, visual rhythm, numbers, imagery, dimension and gestalt Dominant note styles:
numerical (major and sub categories)

Therefore we are only using three of the tools available to the cerebral cortex –
there is no

visual rhythm
visual pattern
image (imagination)
spatial awareness

It is therefore self-fulfilling that linear note-taking is boring and does nothing to aid recall “So 95% of the literate human population is making notes in a manner designed to bore themselves and others to distraction, and to send many of them into a state of unconsciousness – our places of learning are becoming giant public bedrooms”

“the skills associated with our left and right hemispheres are not able to interact in a way which produces an upward spiral of growth and movement.”

Linear notes
Obscure key words
They waste time at all stages (production and revision)
Fail to stimulate the brain – little association are made that would aid recall and creativity

As a result we:
Lose power of concentration
Lose confidence
Lose love of learning
We are working against ourselves

Witness the descent into obsessive note taking in pupils in schools The Mind Map – essential characteristics
The subject of attention is crystallised in the central image
The main themes radiate from the centre
Branches comprise a key word or image
The branches form a connected nodal structure

People’s associative network is unique to them.
“in the human brain there are multiple quadrillions of used associations.

We should exploit our uniqueness rather than repress it. – this is liberating for those labelled slow,etc

Do the happiness word association exercise (on your own)

Now swap with your neighbour – differences/similarities? Image recall is particularly powerful – pictures really are worth a thousand words they make use of a vast range of cortical skills – it is ludicrous that most note-taking takes place without images. Again we tell ourselves we cannot draw

We mistake initial failure for incapacity – a great mental skill withers

This is reinforced:
Images are seen as childish/irrelevant, lacking gravitas
Artistic snobbery

Research into the power of creating images shown on – 3 groups of children
Draw their own pics
Traced someone elses’
Simply wrote the word

Group 1 did by far the best in recall

The mind map not only uses images, it is an image

Do the Home association exercise Aims of this exercise:

To unleash the power of the visual cortex

To enhance the memory’s storing and recalling capabilities
through the use of images for emphasis and association

To increase aesthetic pleasure – simple enjoyment

To break down resistance to the use of images in learning

To aid mental relaxation

To begin to develop the extraordinary powers of visualisation and
perception utilised by Da Vinci et al Hierarchies and Categories
Basic Ordering Ideas (BOI)
We recall hierarchies better (experiments show this) – use example of Happiness – devise BOI’s (people, places, activities, food, sensations)
Listing notes cuts ideas off from one another – killing the natural thinking process. Listing guillotines ideas.

The mind map follows the logic of association rather than time – a chronological sequence can be imposed at the end.
Aids for creating BOI’s
what are the chapter headings (for example in a course reader) or slide headings in a PowerPoint
basic questions (what, where, when, why?)
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