Mind Mapping offers a simplified diagrammatic overview of a subject and is an ideal way to present information in a visual form that your brain can easily grasp. It is a useful technique for recording a summary of what you have read in a book, newspaper or magazine or heard in a lecture or in a TV or radio program.

Mind-Maps® were invented in the 1960s by Tony Buzan. Tony saw Mind Maps as a way of utilizing the left and right hemispheres of the brain simultaneously, in cooperation with each other. The analytical, logical left brain understands and assesses the information; while the imaginative, intuitive right brain finds a visual form in which to present it. Below is a summary of the different processes associated with each hemisphere, to help you understand how Mind Mapping works.

memory and mind maps


Left Hemisphere





Linear thinking

Rational thinking

Numbers and word recognition

Right Hemisphere


Colour perception

Spatial awareness

Creating an overview



Face and object recognition

A Mind Map is a good way to represent the relative importance of different topics – and to appraise them or remind yourself of them at a glance. The central themes are clearly defined and all extraneous information is eliminated. You can see the whole picture and the key details all at the same time.


This simplified Mind Map shows one possible approach. Classic Mind Mapping would have more pictures and would attempt to use single words rather than phrases wherever possible. Also, each branch would be in a different colour.

mind map example

Exercise: Making Your Own Mind Map

Take a sheet of paper and some coloured pens or pencils. (Use ink for the lettering and coloured pencils for the graphics.) You might decide to start with a rough sketch so that you can adjust the proportions a little once you have everything mapped out initially on paper.

The point of this exercise is to create and memorize two Mind Maps on.

1. Some topic on which you wish to become better informed. You can choose any field – perhaps an aspect of sport or music, or some episode in history, or something more technical such as the way a car engine works. You might already know the key facts and want to build up a clearer picture. Do some background reading, making draft Mind Maps as you proceed, do not take any longhand notes, and restrict yourself to the key points, expressed in as few words as possible. Add organically to the Mind Map as you gain more knowledge by further reading. When you feel that you have read and understood enough, prepare your final Mind Map, in colour, with suitable imagery and graphics. Commit it to memory. After two or three days see if you can reproduce it from memory alone.

2. The key priorities in your life, in relation to such questions as home, money, relationships, work, leisure, skills, values, ambitions, travel, and so on. You can use this kind of Mind Map as a way to determine how you see yourself progressing in the future. Add simple pictures to help fix the things that matter most to you. If you wish, as with the first Mind Map, the sizing of these images can be used to reflect their relative importance.

How To Mind Map A Lecture?

So how would you go about Mind Mapping, say, a lecture? The speaker might follow an eccentric order of presentation – he or she might start with a minor point to grab your attention and build up slowly to the main point, or state it first, followed by a series of qualifications. As you construct your Mind Map you need to be flexible enough to accommodate such shifts of emphasis. You may not know what the key points are until the lecture is over.

Many people will choose to do a draft in pen or pencil before producing a finalized version in colour. By creating simple graphic images within the Mind Map (don’t worry, no artistic expertise is required), you help to make key points vivid and memorable. And by using different colours of ink or pencil, you can emphasize the different strands of subject matter to help you “read” the Mind Map more speedily or more effectively – which makes the device an excellent revision tool. It is also a useful way to prepare an essay, to reduce a manual, workbook or article to a simpler, clearer form, or to clarify your ideas about any kind of project.

When you choose to commit a Mind Map to memory, the spatial aspects help you to cement the contents there. The idea is to absorb and recall the whole map, as you would recall a place you know, or a map of where you live. Let’s say you want to remember the effects of global warming. Picture the branch at the top right-hand side of the map, and read off, in your memory, the key words positioned there. Any pictorial symbol you have placed alongside will further help you with the process of recollection.