Mind Mapping and Variants

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Cognitive Map Mind Map
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A Powerful Approach to Note Taking Examples

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Argument Map Concept Map

Cognitive Map
Cognitive maps, mental maps, mind maps, cognitive models, or mental models are a type of mental processing (cognition) composed of a series of psychological transformations by which an individual can acquire, code, store, recall, and decode information about the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in their everyday or metaphorical spatial environment. Tolman (1948) is generally credited with the introduction of the term 'cognitive map'. Here, 'cognition' can be used to refer to the mental models, or belief systems, that people use to perceive, contextualize, simplify, and make sense of otherwise complex problems. Cognitive maps have been studied in various fields of science, such as psychology, archeology, planning, geography and management. As a consequence, these mental models are often referred to, variously, as cognitive maps, scripts, schemata, and frames of reference. Put more simply, cognitive maps are a method we use to structure and store spatial knowledge, allowing the "mind's eye" to visualize images in order to reduce cognitive load, and enhance recall and learning of information. This type of spatial thinking can also be used as a metaphor for non-spatial tasks, where people performing non-spatial tasks involving memory and imaging use spatial knowledge to aid in processing the task. These can be abstract, flat or spatial representations of cognitive spaces. When these cognitive spaces are combined they can form a cognitive panorama. We can distinguish cognitive maps or cognitive spaces as being either "workbenches of the mind" (Baars) or "externally related workbenches of the mind" (Benking) as representations of the inside or outside. The oldest known formal method of using spatial locations to remember data is the "method of loci". This method was originally used by students of rhetoric in Ancient Rome when memorizing speeches. To use it one must first memorize the appearance of a physical location (for example, the sequence of rooms in a building). When a list of words, for example, needs to be memorized, the learner visualizes an object representing that word in one of the pre-memorized locations. To recall the list, the learner mentally "walks through" the memorized locations, noticing the objects placed there during the memorization phase. Cognitive maps may also be represented and assessed on paper or screen through various practical methods such as a concept map, sketch map, spider diagram, Hasse diagram or any variety of spatial representation. A Fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) is a cognitive map which can be processed based on fuzzy logic. The neural correlates of a cognitive map (at least in rodents') brains has been speculated to be the Place cell system in the Hippocampus or the recently found Grid cells in the entorhinal cortex.

Mind Map

A hand-drawn mind map

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing. It is an imagecentered diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of information. By presenting these connections in a radial, non-linear graphical manner, it encourages a brainstorming approach to any given organizational task, eliminating the hurdle of initially establishing an intrinsically appropriate or relevant conceptual framework to work within. A mind map is similar to a semantic network or cognitive map but there are no formal restrictions on the kinds of links used. The elements are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts and they are organized into groupings, branches, or areas. The uniform graphic formulation of the semantic structure of information on the method of gathering knowledge, may aid recall of existing memories.

Mind maps (or similar concepts) have been used for centuries, for learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists and people in general. 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. Ramon Llull also used these structures of the mind map form. The semantic network was developed as a theory to understand human learning, and developed into mind maps by Dr Allan Collins, and the noted researcher M. Ross Quillian during the early 1960s. As such, due to his commitment and published research, and his work with learning, creativity, and

graphical thinking, Dr Allan Collins can be considered the father of the modern mind map.[citation needed] People have been using image-centered radial graphic organization techniques referred to variably as mental or generic mind maps for centuries in areas such as engineering, psychology, and education, although the claim to the origin of the mind map has been made by a British popular psychology author, Tony Buzan. He claimed the idea was inspired by Alfred Korzybski's general semantics as popularized in science fiction novels, such as those of Robert A. Heinlein and A. E. van Vogt. He argues that 'traditional' outlines rely on the reader to scan left to right and top to bottom, whilst what actually happens is that the brain will scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. He also uses popular assumptions about the cerebral hemispheres in order to promote the exclusive use of mind mapping over other forms of note making. The mind map continues to be used in various forms, and for various applications including learning and education (where it is often taught as 'Webs' or 'Webbing'), planning and in engineering diagramming. When compared with the earlier original concept map (which was developed by learning experts in the 1960s) the structure of a mind map is a similar, but simplified, radial by having one central key word.

Uses of mind maps

Rough mindmap notes taken during a course session

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, and wherein grouping and organizing is reserved for later stages), summarizing, revising and general clarifying of thoughts. For example, one could listen to a lecture and take down notes using mind maps for the most important points or keywords. One can also use mind maps as a mnemonic technique or to sort out a complicated idea. Mind maps are also promoted as a way to collaborate in color pen creativity sessions. Mind maps can be drawn by hand, either as 'rough notes', for example, during a lecture or meeting, or can be more sophisticated in quality. Examples of both are illustrated. There are also a number of software packages available for producing mind maps (see below). The best-selling fiction paperback (August 2007) in the UK , "The Naming of the Dead" by Ian Rankin, features a detective, Inspector Rebus who uses mind maps to solve crimes.

Mind map guidelines

Mind map of mind map guidelines

Tony Buzan suggests using the following foundation structures for Mind Mapping: 1. Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.

2. 3. 4. 5.

Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your Mind Map. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the center. 6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image. 7. Use colors – your own code – throughout the Mind Map. 8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping. 9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map. 10.Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches. An idea map is similar to a mind map but does not adhere to the above guidelines. Rules are constantly broken based on the purpose and application of the Map.

Scholarly research on mind maps in learning
Buzan claims that the mind map is a vastly superior note taking method because it does not lead to the alleged "semi-hypnotic trance" state induced by the other note forms. He also claims that the mind map utilizes the full range of left and right human cortical skills, balances the brain, taps into the alleged 99% of your unused mental potential, as well as intuition (which he calls "superlogic"). However, scholarly research suggests that such claims may actually be marketing hype based on misconceptions about the brain and the cerebral hemispheres. Hemispheric specialization theory has been identified as pseudoscientific when applied to mind mapping. There are benefits to be gained by applying a wide range of graphic organizers, and it follows that the mind map, specifically, is not equally suited to all learning tasks. Scholarly research by Farrand, Hussain, and Hennessy (2002) found that the mind map technique had a limited but significant impact on recall only, in undergraduate students (a 10% increase over baseline for a 600-word text only) as compared to preferred study methods (a −6% increase over baseline). This improvement was only robust after a week for those in the mind map group, and there was a significant decrease in motivation compared to the subjects' preferred methods of note taking. They suggested that learners preferred to use other methods because using a mind map was an unfamiliar technique, and its status as a "memory enhancing" technique engendered reluctance to apply it. Pressley, VanEtten, Yokoi, Freebern, and VanMeter (1998) found that learners tended to learn far better by focusing on the content of learning material rather than worrying over any one particular form of note taking.

Mind mapping software can be used effectively to organise large amounts of information, combining spatial organization, dynamic hierarchical structuring and node folding.

Mind mapping in contrast with concept mapping
The mind map can be contrasted with the similar idea of concept mapping. The former is based on radial hierarchies and tree structures, whereas concept maps are based on connections between concepts. Concept maps also encourage one to label the connections one makes between nodes, as this has been found to enhance meaningful learning while enabling the potential as a true cognitive, intuitive, spatial and metaphorical mapping. There has been extensive empirical research conducted on

concept mapping. In contrast, mind maps are based on separated focused topics and there has been no research stream on mind mapping.

Mind Maps A Powerful Approach to Note Taking
Mind Mapping is an important technique that improves the way you take notes, and supports and enhances your creative problem solving. By using Mind Maps, you can quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject and the way that pieces of information fit together, as well as recording the raw facts contained in normal notes. More than this, Mind Maps provide a structure which encourages creative problem solving, and they hold information in a format that your mind will find easy to remember and quick to review. Popularized by Tony Buzan, Mind Maps abandon the list format of conventional note taking. They do this in favor of a two-dimensional structure. A good Mind Map shows the 'shape' of the subject, the relative importance of individual points, and the way in which facts relate to one another. Mind Maps are more compact than conventional notes, often taking up one side of paper. This helps you to make associations easily. If you find out more information after you have drawn the main Mind Map, then you can easily integrate it with little disruption. Mind Maps are also useful for: • Summarizing information; • Consolidating information from different research sources; • Thinking through complex problems; and • Presenting information in a format that shows the overall structure of your subject . They are very quick to review as you can often refresh information in your mind just by glancing at one. And in the same way, they can be effective mnemonics: Remembering the shape and structure of a Mind Map can give you the cues you need to remember the information within it. As such, they engage much more of your brain in the process of assimilating and connecting facts, compared with conventional notes.

Drawing Basic Mind Maps
The Mind Tools site was originally planned and researched using Mind Maps. They are too large to publish here, however part of one is shown below. This shows research into time management skills: To make notes on a subject using a Mind Map, draw it in the following way: 1. Write the title of the subject you're exploring in the center of the page, and draw a circle around it. This is shown by the circle marked 1 in the example, above. 2. As you come across major subdivisions or subheadings of the topic (or important facts that relate to the subject) draw lines out from this circle. Label these lines with these subdivisions or subheadings. These are shown by the lines marked 2 in the example. 3. As you "burrow" into the subject and uncover another level of information (further subheadings, or individual facts) belonging to the subheadings above, draw these as lines linked to the subheading lines. These are shown by the lines marked 3 the example. 4. Finally, for individual facts or ideas, draw lines out from the appropriate heading line and label them. These are shown by the lines marked 4 the example. 5. As you come across new information, link it in to the Mind Map appropriately.

A complete Mind Map may have main topic lines radiating in all directions from the center. Sub-topics and facts will branch off these, like branches and twigs from the trunk of a tree. You do not need to worry about the structure produced, as this will evolve of its own accord.

An Example Mind Map

Note that the idea of numbered 'levels' in the example is only used to help show how the Mind Map was created. All we are showing is that major headings radiate from the center, with lower level headings and facts branching off from the higher level headings. While drawing Mind Maps by hand is appropriate in many cases, software tools like MindGenius improve the process by helping to you to produce high quality Concept Maps, which can easily be edited and redrafted.

Improving your Mind Maps
Your Mind Maps are your own property: once you understand how to make notes in the Mind Map format, you can develop your own conventions to take them further. The following suggestions may help to increase their effectiveness: Use single words or simple phrases for information: Most words in normal writing are padding, as they ensure that facts are conveyed in the correct context, and in a format that is pleasant to read. In your own Mind Maps, single strong words and meaningful phrases

can convey the same meaning more potently. Excess words just clutter the Mind Map.
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Print words: Joined up or indistinct writing can be more difficult to read. Use color to separate different ideas: This will help you to separate ideas where necessary. It also helps you to visualize of the Mind Map for recall. Color also helps to show the organization of the subject. Use symbols and images: Where a symbol or picture means something to you, use it. Pictures can help you to remember information more effectively than words. Using cross-linkages: Information in one part of the Mind Map may relate to another part. Here you can draw in lines to show the cross-linkages. This helps you to see how one part of the subject affects another.

Key points
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Mind Mapping is an extremely effective method of taking notes. Mind Maps show not only facts, but also the overall structure of a subject and the relative importance of individual parts of it. They help you to associate ideas and make connections that might not otherwise make.

If you do any form of research or note taking, try experimenting with Mind Maps. You will find them surprisingly effective!


Argument Map
An Argument map is a visual representation of the structure of an argument in informal logic. It includes the components of an argument such as a main contention, premises, co-premises, objections, rebuttals and lemmas. Argument Maps are often used in the teaching of reasoning and critical thinking, and can support the analysis of pros and cons when deliberating over wicked problems. The latest advacement in argument mapping enables research and analysis of naturalistic human decision making in real life contexts of risk and uncertainty. These techniques are presented by Facione and Facione in Thinking and Reasoning in Human Decision Making: The Method of Argument and Heuristic Analysis (The California Academic Press, 2007). This book describes the theory, technique, and application of this new analytical methodology. Among other things it shows how to construct decision maps from oral and textual expressions of individual or group decisions. A&H Method decision maps illustrate the combination of reasons-claim argument strands as well as the influences of cognitive heuristics and psychological dominance structuring which emerge from those data.

Examples of argument maps

A Rationale map, based on a Bob Dylan song

A Rationale map arguing in favor of Condorcet voting methods

A Rationale map demonstrating the Straw man fallacy

Concept Map
Concept mapping is a technique for visualizing the relationships among different concepts. A concept map is a diagram showing the relationships among concepts. Concepts are connected with labeled arrows, in a downward-branching hierarchical structure. The relationship between concepts is articulated in linking phrases, e.g., "gives rise to", "results in", "is required by," or "contributes to".


Example concept map, created using IHMC CmapTools. The technique of concept mapping was developed by Joseph D. Novak and his research team at Cornell University in the 1970s as a means of representing the emerging science knowledge of students. It has subsequently been used as a tool to increase meaningful learning in the sciences and other subjects as well as to represent the expert knowledge of individuals and teams in education, government and business. Concept maps have their origin in the learning movement called constructivism. In particular, constructivists hold that learners actively construct knowledge. Novak's work is based on the cognitive theories of David Ausubel (assimilation theory), who stressed the importance of prior knowledge in being able to learn new concepts. "The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach accordingly."

Novak taught students as young as six years old to make concept maps to represent their response to focus questions such as "What is water?" "What causes the seasons? In his book Learning How to Learn, Novak states that "meaningful learning involves the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing cognitive structures."

Concept maps are used to stimulate the generation of ideas, and are believed to aid creativity. For example, concept mapping is sometimes used for brain-storming. Although they are often personalized and idiosyncratic, concept maps can be used to communicate complex ideas. Formalized concept maps are used in software design, where a common usage is Unified Modeling Language diagramming amongst similar conventions and development methodologies. Concept mapping can also be seen as a first step in ontology-building, and can also be used flexibly to represent formal argument. Concept maps are widely used in education and business for:
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Note taking and summarizing gleaning key concepts, their relationships and hierarchy from documents and source materials New knowledge creation: e.g., transforming tacit knowledge into an organizational resource, mapping team knowledge Institutional knowledge preservation (retention), e.g, eliciting and mapping expert knowledge of employees prior to retirement Collaborative knowledge modeling and the transfer of expert knowledge Facilitating the creation of shared vision and shared understanding within a team or organization Instructional design: concept maps used as Ausubelian "advance organizers" which provide an initial conceptual frame for subsequent information and learning. Training: concept maps used as Ausubelian "advanced organizers" to represent the training context and its relationship to their jobs, to the organization's strategic objectives, to training goals. Increasing meaningful learning: Communicating complex ideas and arguments: Examining the symmetry of complex ideas and arguments and associated terminology: Detailing the entire structure of an idea, train of thought, or line of argument (with the specific goal of exposing faults, errors, or gaps in one's own reasoning) for the scrutiny of others. Enhancing metacognition (learning to learn, and thinking about knowledge) Improving language ability Assessing learner understanding of learning objectives, concepts, and the relationship among those concepts

Contrast with mind mapping
Concept mapping can be contrasted with the similar idea of idea mapping. The latter is often restricted to radial hierarchies and tree structures. Among the various schema and techniques for visualizing ideas, processes, organizations, concept mapping, as developed by Novak is unique in philosophical basis, which "makes concepts, and propositions composed of concepts, the central elements in the structure of knowledge and construction of meaning."

There is research evidence that knowledge is stored in the brain in the form of productions that act on declarative memory content which is also referred to as chunks or propositions. Because concept maps are constructed to reflect the organization of the declarative memory system, they facilitate sensemaking and meaningful learning on the part of individuals who make concept maps and those who use them. Concept maps were developed to enhance meaningful learning in the sciences. A well made concept map grows within a context frame defined by an explicit "focus question," while a mind map has branches radiating out from a central picture. Another contrast between Concept mapping and Mind mapping is the speed and spontaneity when a Mind map is created. A Mind map reflects what you think about a single topic, which can focus group brainstorming. A Concept map can be a map, a system view, of a real (abstract) system or set of concepts. Concept maps are more free form, as multiple hubs and clusters can be created, unlike mind maps which fix on a single conceptual center.

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