A mental map is a resource that allows us to represent the most important aspects of an idea to facilitate its analysis. We explain how to do it.
What is a mental map?
A mental map or cognitive map is a multidimensional mnemonic resource. More simply, it is defined as a diagram or graphics scheme, which is used to represent the most important aspects of a specific idea and generate words, drawings, ideas and concepts related to a central theme.
What function does a mental map fulfill?
Normally, it is used for decision making, study, work, and problem-solving, among others. Through this mnemonic resource, important ideas on a topic can be organized and prioritized, facilitating the visualization and systematization of information.
“A good mental map is one that with only one look you can appreciate the thematic focus.”
How to create a mental map
To create a mental map, it is necessary to have a paper and a pencil; you can also have markers and colors to better visualize the idea. The first step is to find a central idea, or thematic focus, from where all the other ideas, words, concepts etc. will come out; related to it. The thematic focus can be a drawing or a summary idea, but it must be located in the center of the page.
The next step is to reflect on the most important divisions that derive from the topic; for this, it is necessary to answer the interrogative pronouns: what, how, when, where, what, for what, and why. The answers to these questions will be located around the thematic focus in more intense color. From these main ideas, other related secondary ideas are derived; as for example illustrative cases, references, statistical data, examples, etc.
“The mental map is used for decision making, study, work, and problem-solving, among others.”
All the ideas, both primary and secondary, will be placed on the sheet in the form of a branch of the thematic focus. Each of the secondary ideas will be put in hierarchical order; the farther away from the thematic focus the idea is, the less important it will be, even though it is within the mind map and should be considered as part of the thematic focus.
The best mental map
A good mental map is one that with only one glance you can appreciate the thematic focus, the main ideas and the secondary ones, and you can draw a conclusion about the priority and hierarchy of ideas. In this way, decision making and problem-solving become easier.