the addictive nature of mind maps and how effective they are
Just as one does not simply pee with a boner, or win an argument with a woman (i apologise on two counts to the ladies who may be reading) ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY LEARN WITHOUT A MINDMAP. Either that, or I have managed to, over a period of about four or five very geeky (yet equally ambitious) months, be overcome by a severe, possibly crippling, geeky addiction.
Symptoms: I am currently reading no more then 5 books (including one textbook), each having its very own incomplete A3 mind map, some often spreading to more then one page. All other (non-fiction) books I have read to this date have managed have been successfully mind-mapped. all my units at uni have ended up as huge coagulations of word and image on a single page, to the extent that not a single dot point from any lecture or tutorial has been overlooked.
Now I do not mean to boast; there of course some kicks to such a compulsion (put in frankly, its better then playing WOW or Facebook stalking) but like most, they can just so easily become detrimental to oneself –usually without awareness. I even considered mind-mapping the pros and cons of mind mapping, and if it was for HE and the promise of conversing with others just as inclined to cavernous, uninhibited thought, then I probably would have!
FEEL my pain?
I start with a few thoughts to get the topic started:
Benefits to mind mapping:
- Like spewing your brains onto a page – easy to disentangle subconscious thoughts and anxieties
- Very stimulating, creative and most of all pleasurable
- Captures all your thoughts on one topic –unlimited by such things as structure or eligibility
- Allows for tangents to be pursued
- Pleasurable release of intellectual tension and a sort of instillation of ideas that you wish to remember
- Possibly not as stimulating?
- Lacks better elucidation of ideas that is commonplace to when writing for others to see.
- Not as practical – self indulgent of for self-interest
- Better pleasure knowing others can make sense of it
- Can become cluttered, and often hard to re-read as it lacks structure or explanations.
- Is not as clear as essay-type writing.
The most unfortunate thing is that there are very little studies on the topic – some have hinted to their effectiveness in improving the learning of some students – but are only relevant in the short term as they mostly reverted to their more preferred process of note-taking. Others have suggested a balanced incorporation of both hemispheres as well as avoiding something called a ‘semi-hynotic trance’ (sounds seductively intellectual!) that are apparently caused by other forms of note taking.
Anyway, it seems a fairly niche or far-fetched topic, so I’m probably asking a lot for their to be very much writing on it. The reason I even ask is because I have never in my life wished more but to be terribly knowledgeable, and would love it if anyone could explain if they have been similarly inclined, and whether it is in fact something to be scorned or cherished.
Its not solving world hunger, problematic economics or climate change, but I would love to hear everyone else’s thoughts?
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@danfontaine, If you are more of a visual person I think it is way more effective then writing things out. The whole idea is boom, right there, in its simple, easiest way to see and understand it. I tend to be extremely unorganized so this visual method of brainstorming, I feel, could be an extremely helpful technique.
@wesleyleigh, Thanks for posting this, I never knew this was actually a known system. Its weird, I just started taking notes like this for class, weird because I have never taken notes in this manner, and then I see this discussion.
@danfontaine, thanks dude! i was pretty much the same, now that I think of it I recall even doing it in high school, on no less then A1 and A2 pieces of paper- the information just seemed so much easier to access and understand when it was all on one page rather then throughout 10 pages of notes… also I noticed that the simple pleasure of drawing lines, bubbles, clouds and pretty much whatever my brain would envision to draw in between and around the text made it more just that much funner to write.
@kkylekittell24 your right as well, I am a very visual person, (despite not fully knowing what that actually means). I also find mind mapping helps particularly with elaborating on ideas or inklings that you wouldn’t necessarily talk to others about – as I don’t necessarily show my mind maps to anyone! I also think they are for a form of self-indulgent revelation ( i like to think of how Albert einstein and Charles Darwin came to deduce their most influential works) much like what Susan Cain talks about in her book: quiet: the power of introverts (also a great TED speaker: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html)
finally, i think everyone can benefit from visual learning – especially when its of your own creation. something that gives a fervent sway to this thought is that your mind does not think in words or statements, but in pictures. this TED talk is a good example of this (on such an awesome topic i might add, its definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already!) http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/denis_dutton_a_darwinian_theory_of_beauty.html
thanks guys, I’m sure you’ll find it to be very fruitful. another thought is if it is in anyway person-specific? as in, whether some people would find better use of it then others…
i noticed that my likening stems from its inherent ability to take the fairly meaninglessness of words on a page and then recapturing them in a way that portrays an image of a person, or portrait, where there is a centre focus (the idea, or the face of the image) and its all its elements which surround it (could be a hand, a body, some shrubbery, trees, buildings)… another way to visualise its mechanics is if you had taken an idea in the form of a beam of light, refracted in through a glass prism to allow all its elements (in this case the infinite colours of the rainbow) to be separated like strands, and thus resulting in a substantially better understanding of even the most naively subtle ideas or forms (I did a mind map on love the other day, as well as beauty and creativity)
I’ve made mind maps before without really realizing I was doing it. I can testify that it’s more effective than writing things out as a mode for cementing thoughts. I’m pretty unorganized at it though. As I basically spontaneously invented it for myself and didn’t really understand the nature of what I was doing, nor did I realize the effectiveness of it.