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Mind Mapping is a form of visual thinking done by writing one's ideas down in the form of pictures or other graphical representation in order to get as clear a picture of the subject in question as possible.
These concepts are, along with mind maps, used for centuries now. It is evidently present in brainstorming, note taking, problem solving, memory, learning and visual thinking techniques used by psychologists, educators, engineers and other professions that need intensive thinking before conclusion prevails.
This form of creative thinking has been present for a very long time. The first traces of mind mapping go as far back as the 3rd century BC. A philosopher by the name of Porphyry of Tyros is thought to be the first to use mind mapping to form his ideas and thus making learning easier for the others.
Another early adopter of brainstorming and mind mapping is the Catalan philosopher and the author of the first major work in Catalan literature, Ramon Llull. Historians found later that Leonardo da Vinci used mind mapping as well, mostly for note taking. He is sometimes considered as the historical person who popularized mind mapping the most.
Although historians found various traces of mind mapping throughout history after Leonardo, they were relatively insignificant until the beginning 1950s or 60s. Network semantics was developed late 1950s, just a basic theory in order to understand the demonstrations of how human beings develop learning. This concept was furthered by Quillian and Dr. Collins in the 1960s. Dr. Collins was considered as the Father of Modern Mapping because of his extensive commitment to publish researches about his creativity, graphical thinking and learning. Ross Quilian and Alan Collins were the ones who shaped the future of mind mapping. They both used a kind of network where all the concepts and ideas were related by links, links that would show them how a certain object is related with another. This is how mind mapping became very used in learning, sharing concepts, and other various collaborative techniques.
But it was not until the late 1960s that a British psychologist, Tony Buzan, made its use very popular. He even created a set of rules to be used when mind mapping. Nowadays, mind mapping is used everywhere, be it in college or high-school, mind mapping is used as it gives a broader approach on the subject. Though some of it is still done on paper, most mind maps nowadays are made directly via a computer using mind mapping software, which simplifies things enormously, cutting the time you need to redraw things after you have made some amendments and rearrangings. The software simply generates the links according to your input and places them around seamlessly.
The computer-aided mind mapping is available not only as a stand-alone application, there are also web/cloud-based mind mapping tools There are even mind mapping programs on latest smartphones so that you can start brainstorming anywhere, anytime.