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Mind Mapping as a Tool for Critical Thinking

            Mind mapping is a process that was developed by Tony Buzan in the early 1980's. Buzan developed this process while conducting a research study on note taking techniques. The underlying premise of mind mapping is that by creating notes (a map) that are not only appealing to the eye, but brief, one will more easily recall the information. According to the Web site http://www.tarleton.edu~tlc.MMAP.HTM, mind mapping "stimulates the right brain through the use of colors, shapes, patterns and imagery, [and] mind mapping improves comprehension/recall and enhances both logical and creative thinking." Basically, mind mapping is an enhanced brainstorming and/or note taking process.
             Mind mapping is somewhat based on the power of visual memory. Page 4 of the Web site http://www.members.ozemail.com.au/~caveman/Mindmap/mindmapfaq.html briefly discusses a study conducted by Ralph Haber that describes the power of visual memory. It states, "In this study by Ralph Haber, 2,560 photos were shown to subjects. Then [the] subjects were shown 2,560 pairs of photos and asked in each case to [indicate] which photo had been in the original group and which had not. The success rate averaged between 85%-95%, showing that humans have an almost photographic visual memory." Mind mapping assists the brain's natural ability to recall information by chunking interrelated terms and ideas together.
             The mind mapping process allows users, both individually and in groups, to think creatively, and in a short period of time develop and organize a large number of ideas. Mind mapping enhances the critical thinking process by freeing the brain to think in small chunks, rather than large volumes of text. .
             Mind mapping is a non-linear process that starts by placing a central or main idea/topic in the center of a piece of paper (or computer screen). Then related ideas are connected to the main idea by using graphics, lines, color or other visual enhancements.

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