A mind map (or mind-map) is a diagram used for linking words and ideas to a central key word or idea. It is used to visualize, classify, structure, and generate ideas, as well as an aid in study, problem solving, and decision making.
It is similar to a semantic network or cognitive map but there are no formal restrictions on the kinds of links used. Most often the map involves images, words, and lines. The elements are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts and they are organized into groupings, branches, or areas.
In other words, a mind map is an image-centered radial diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of information. The uniform graphic formulation of the semantic structure of information on the method of gathering knowledge, may aid recall of existing memories. It is also advertised as a way of increasing motivation to work on a task. For example, the map can graphically illustrate the structure of government institutions within a state. A mind map well-structured and well-established can be subject to review (e.g. with spaced repetition).
Mind maps (or similar concepts) have been used for centuries, for learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists and people in general. Some of the earliest examples mind maps were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century as he graphically visualised the concept categories of Aristotle. Ramon Llull also used these structures of the mind map form.
People have been using image centered radial graphic organization techniques referred to variably as mental or generic mind maps for centuries in areas such as engineering, psychology, and education, although the claim to the origin of the mind map has been made by a British popular psychology author, Tony Buzan. He claimed the idea was inspired by the general semantics of science fiction novels, such as those of A. E. van Vogt and L. Ron Hubbard. He argues that 'traditional' articles rely on the reader to scan left to right and top to bottom, whilst what actually happens is that the brain will scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. He also uses popular assumptions about the cerebral hemispheres in order to promote the exclusive use of mind mapping over other forms of note making.
More recently the semantic network was developed as a theory to understand human learning, and developed into mind maps by the rennaisance man Dr Allan Collins, and the noted researcher M. Ross Quillian during the early 1960s. As such, due to his commitment and published research, and his work with learning, creativity, and graphical thinking, Dr Allan Collins can be considered the father of the modern mind map.
The mind map continues to be used in various forms, and for various applications including learning and education (where it is often taught as 'Webs' or 'Webbing'), planning and in engineering diagramming.
When compared with the earlier original concept map (which was developed by learning experts in the 1960s) the structure of a mind map is a similar, but simplified, radial by having one central key word.
Uses of mind maps
A hand-drawn mind map
Rough mindmap notes taken during a course sessionMind maps have many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including note-taking, a modified variant of brainstorming (ideas are judged and put into an organized structure as opposed to the classical brainstorming where judgement is reserved for later stages), summarizing, revising and general clarifying of thoughts. For example, one could listen to a lecture and take down notes using mind maps for the most important points or keywords. One can also use mind maps as a mnemonic technique or to sort out a complicated idea. Mind maps are also promoted as a way to collaborate in colour pen creativity sessions.
Some of the literature around mind-mapping has made claims that one can find the perfect lover, combat bullying, persuade clients, develop intuitive powers, create global harmony, and tap the deeper levels of consciousness by using mind map techniques.
Software and technique research have concluded that managers and students find the techniques of mind mapping to be useful, being better able to retain information and ideas than by using traditional 'linear' note taking methods. 
Mindmaps can be drawn by hand, either as 'rough notes', for example, during a lecture or meeting, or can be more sophisticated in quality. Examples of both are illustrated. There are also a number of software packages available for producing mind maps (see below).
Mind map guidelines
These are the foundation structures of a Mind Map, although these are open to free interpretation by the individual:
Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours.
Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
Use colours your own code throughout the Mind Map.
Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
Keep the Mind Map clear by using Radiant hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.
22nd April 2006 From China
I would say hats off to " TONY BUZAN " for introducing this concept.
Infact i cracjked my engg exams coz of Mind Maps, my notes used to be like drawing books, Full of colours and drawings. I have conducted n nos of training on Mind Maps, if anybody is interested in getting a workshop
done on Mind Maps for thr corporates plus anything related to "NEUROBICS" please feel free to call me at 9321102211 or mail me at
24th April 2006 From India, Madras