Mind mapping is a simple technique that can be used to surface mental models1, stimulate creativity, jumpstart a group discussion, facilitate communication, explore an idea’s network of connections, enhance note taking and even improve your memory. (All that and you get to use crayons too!) It involves combining images, colors, keywords, emphasis and anything else you can think of to produce “map” or schematic picture of a central concept. Mind mapping can be done on your own in a group setting. In a group it’s a great compliment to standard brainstorming. In this class our primary interest in mind mapping is its use as a tool to uncover our own mental models and graphically display those tacit connections and assumptions we associate with our concepts. Mind mapping begins with a central idea denoted by a single key word. This word, along with an associated image, is placed in the center of a (lengthwise) sheet of paper. Working from this central theme outward you indicate via five to seven further keywords concepts associated with the central theme. With each of these you associate further keywords. The end product is a map or network of closely related concepts that, in some sense, reflect your understanding of the central theme. Unlike, e.g. a slide show, or a book, the Mental Map graphically presents a central idea within the full context of all of its associations. This supports the brain’s tendency to function in wholes or “gestalts.” Mind maps are most successful when they obey some very general rules:

Critical Thinking

Rules of the “Mind Map” Game
• Begin with a key word and color image in the center • Use images, symbols and codes throughout • Words should be PRINTED • Printed words should be on lines and each line should be connected to other lines • Use suggestive concise key words • Use colors to enhance memory, delight the eye and stimulate cortical processes • Your mind should be as ‘free’ as possible. You’ll probably think faster than you can write • Have fun
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~caveman/Creative/Mindmap/ ISAS 302, Fall 2002


As we’ll discuss in class mental models are often tacit beliefs and assumptions that inform our actions. They are “deeply held internal images of how the world works, images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting.” Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline (NY: Doubleday, 1990), p. 174

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5-20 minutes. Version 1. MI 5 ND MA P Use hierarchy 1 2 3 Use num erical order LA YOU T Use only one key word per line Print all words Print key words on lines M line length equal ake to word length Connect lines to other lines M the central lines thicker ake B e clear M your boundaries ake 'em brace' your branch outline M your im ake ages as clear as possible Keep your paper places horizontally in front of you Keep your printing as upright as possible TEC H N IQU E Use a central image Use images. As a note taking device or a memory enhancer you’d take another. Variants don’t count since they often have very different connotations. NO IDEA IS CRITICIZED. Fall 2002 1. – Offer new ideas or improvise on ones already on the list • As ideas are generated. To jumpstart a group discussion you might take one approach. Ritter. Since our mind-mapping goal is to surface our mental models I suggest the following method for creating a mind map (either individually or as a group): Identify the central theme via a suggestive keyword and image Brainstorm associated keywords for 5-10 minutes Organize the keywords in categories (general to specific) Map the keywords according to the above rules Expand your map.. e. T he Memory Jogger (Go al/Q PC) ISAS 302 . visible letters on a flipchart or other writing surface – Use the speakers words. Adapted from M. Think freely and quickly. indicating that ideas (or members) are exhausted – Keep it short. Don’t interr upt or abbreviate.E ND PA 3. Intuitions about the degree to which different people agree on central concepts are often wildly inaccurate. symbols. I RA RM TO NS Basic Ordering E APPROACH X . Free associate. ID EN TIF Y B 2. EVER. political hack. KEYWORD Central Theme Image Using Mind Maps to Surface Mental Models Critical Thinking Brainstorming Rules • State the brainstorming question. write each one in large. Brassard & D.g. • Review the written list of ideas for clarity and to discard any duplicates. This approach is summarized as a mind map below.The best way to develop a mind map depends upon the goal. agree on it and write it down for everyone to see. If group members are doing individual mind maps on the same topic it’s often interesting to ask each group member to predict how many of their keywords will 1) be common to all of the maps in the group and 2) unique to their own map2. 9/8/03 2 2 . elected public servant.1. – Make sure ever yone understands the question before you begin • Each team member can offer an idea at any time. O RGANIZ General to specific Headings Hierarchy 4. and codes throughout your Mind Map Use three or more colors per central image Use emp h asis Use dimension in images Use synaesthesia (the blending of the physical senses) Min d Map "L aw s" U s e v ariations of s iz e of printing. line and image Use organized spacing Use appropriate spacing D evelop a personal style Use arrows when you want to m connections within and ake across the branch pattern Use colors Use codes Enter Sub-topic U se association Thes e Mind Mapping Guidelines are tak en from Tony Buz an's book 'The Mind Map Book ' The criterion for “common” and “unique” is the same keyword. compare politician. Ask if the idea has been worded accurately • Ideas are generated until each person passes.