Updated: Jul 26
A mind map is a tool for the brain that captures the thinking that goes on inside your head. Mind mapping helps you think, collect knowledge, remember and create ideas. Most likely it will make you a better thinker.
Mind maps can be created in many different ways. Let us start with the basics :
A central theme is placed in the center of a blank page. This is the title, the subject, a problem, or just a thought. When thinking of something images automatically take form in your head.
For example, the image of a “Friends” when thinking of “School friends get together”.
Fig.1 Central theme & image
From the central theme, associations radiate out. Associations directly from the central theme are called first-level associations. Then second level associations are created, third level and so on. The brain thinks by imagination and association. When associations are created, connections are made. These connections are essential for remembering and thinking.
Fig.2 Central theme & associations
Associations are often drawn as curved lines. They are curved rather than straight because the brain likes curves.
Fig.3 Curved lines guide the eyes smoothly from one association to the next
Mind maps summarize information. Instead of sentences, ideally only single keywords are used. A single word per association gives more freedom, creativity,first-level and clarity.
Fig.4 Keywords summarise and give clarity
Fig 5. Sentences are difficult to read and only a very limited number of associations can be made
The length of a word ideally matches the length of a curved line. That causes associated words to be in close proximity.
Fig.6 Words that are close are connected
Fig 7. Words that are far apart are disconnected
A mind map can have many first level associations, but the mind can only grasp about a maximum of 7.
Fig.8 A few associations give a clear view
Fig. 9 Too many associations create chaos
Color & images
The use of color is important in the mind map. Research shows that people who use color and images in their imagination, when they are learning, are better in remembering than those who don’t.