Mind maps are diagrams that are believed to be especially effective in presenting various data. While the first of such diagrams can be traced way back to the Roman Republic, they’ve been brought to the mainstream only relatively recently, in the mid-20th century.
Basically, a typical mind map starts with a single concept. Then, several branches get added to depict various aspects of this central idea, and each of these branches can be unraveled further to make the overall picture more detailed. The structure of such maps is based on insights drawn from psychology, neuroscience, and other related fields, and many scientists believe these diagrams are more effective, illustrative, and overall memorable for human minds than most other types.
While mind maps are still relatively uncommon, they’ve already proven their effectiveness in practice: indeed, they seem to have several unique advantages over other known diagram types. And we have made a list of 5 good reasons to try using these diagrams.
- They make information more memorable
Recent research has shown that mind mapping boosts our ability to memorize and recall just about all kinds of information by 10–15%. While traditional methods of data representation usually require that you study all diagrams from left to right and top to bottom, mind maps can be read in a non-linear way, and that seems to make more sense for our brains, increasing the effectiveness of revision.
- They help you learn new things better
Researchers have found that we have 3 types of learning:
- non-learning — you don’t memorize anything, all acquired information quickly disappears and leaves no trace in your memory;
- rote learning — you repeat information to memorize it, but it doesn’t have any connections, so it also gets forgotten pretty soon;
- effective learning — you make meaningful connections between facts to make a big picture of a topic instead of just memorizing isolated concepts.
The latter is the most effective way to learn anything, and mind mapping seems to promote it. Instead of having to memorize entire tables, you can focus on certain branches and see direct connections on a diagram. As a result, your knowledge of the studied topic becomes deeper and more lasting.
- They make learning easier and more fun
Why do we know the lyrics of our favorite songs so well? That’s exactly because we genuinely want to know them, and that makes learning seamless and long-lasting. When you’re interested in something, you learn more effectively, and mind maps are designed to make any topic more interesting. Creating your own map on a topic is very engaging, so the entire process becomes easier and more fun.
- They can simplify even complex concepts
Even when you’re studying a difficult concept, mind maps can help you break it down into simple parts and learn one of them after the other, so it makes learning simpler. You can use mind maps to explain complex ideas to others — or to yourself: they have been proven to be very effective for planning.
- They improve creativity and productivity
Mind mapping helps you make meaningful connections between separate concepts, and it’s known to boost lateral thinking, an important part of creativity. Instead of memorizing things, you can think about them freely and combine different concepts to make new ones. This way, you learn things much faster and become more productive, and that’s especially important for business. If you can do more within a certain time period, you produce more valuable ideas. A survey has found that mind maps boost your productivity by 23% on average.