Listed below are numerous studies providing evidence on effectiveness of mind maps in the realm of thinking, learning, teaching, memory, creativity, planning, note taking, communicating, problem solving, project managing, productivity, and a wide array of other activities. Additional mind mapping resources, including a link to book recommendations, can be found on the bottom of this webpage.

Research on Mind Mapping

Al-Jarf, R. (2009). Enhancing freshman students’ writing skills with a mind mapping software. Paper  presented at the 5th International Scientific Conference, eLearning and Software for Education, Bucharest, April 2009.

Abstract: Post‐test results showed significant differences between the experimental and control groups as a result of using the mind‐mapping software. Experimental students who used the mind‐mapping software made higher gains in writing than control students who did not.

Anokhin P.K. (1973). The forming of natural and artificial intelligence. Impact of Science in Society, Vol. XXIII 3.

Abstract: Using mind mapping for lesson planning can help teachers or trainers identify a logical plan or teaching route and increases recall of the subject matter. This can boost teaching confidence and facilitate the smooth running of programs.

Cain, M. E. (2001/2002). Using mind maps to raise standards in literacy, improve confidence and encourage positive attitudes towards learning. Study conducted at Newchurch Community Primary School, Warrington.

Abstract: Objective of this study was to present a review of the literature and survey results of student satisfaction after using the mind map learning technique. Results showed that although the subject pool was limited to 14 students, 10 out of 14 agreed that the mind map learning technique enabled them to better organize/integrate material presented in the course, while only 2 disagreed. The final 2 students responded neutrally when asked if the mind map learning technique assisted them in organizing/integrating course material. However, these 2 students did agree the technique enabled them to recognize areas in which further study was necessary for them to adequately master the course material.

D'Antoni AV, Zipp GP, Olson VG. (2009). Interrater reliability of the mind map assessment rubric in a cohort of medical students. BMC Medical Education, 9:19.

Abstract: A learning strategy underutilized in medical education is mind mapping. Mind maps are multi-sensory tools that may help medical students organize, integrate, and retain information. Recent work suggests that using mind mapping as a note-taking strategy facilitates critical thinking. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a relationship existed between mind mapping and critical thinking, as measured by the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT), and whether a relationship existed between mind mapping and recall of domain-based information. Although mind mapping was not found to increase short-term recall of domain-based information or critical thinking compared to SNT, a brief introduction to mind mapping allowed novice MM subjects to perform similarly to SNT subjects. This demonstrates that medical students using mind maps can successfully retrieve information in the short term, and does not put them at a disadvantage compared to SNT students.

Evreklia, E, Balim, A. G., and Inela D. (2009). Mind mapping applications in special teaching methods courses for science teacher candidates and teacher candidates’ opinions concerning the applications. Procedia, Vol. 1, Issue 1, pp 2274-2279.

Abstract: The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of using the mind map study technique to improve factual recall from written information. Study showed that mind maps provide an effective study technique when applied to written material. Mind Mapping improved the long-term memory of factual information in their participants by 10%. However, before mind maps are generally adopted as a study technique, consideration has to be given towards ways of improving motivation amongst users.

Goodnough, K. and Long, R. (2002). Mind mapping: A graphic organizer for the pedagogical toolbox. Science Scope, Vol. 25, No. 8, pp 20-24.

Abstract: The use of mind mapping (MM), a visual tool developed by Buzan to improve note-taking, foster creativity, organize thinking, and develop ideas and concepts, was studied in a sixth-grade classroom with 16 students as an instructional and learning tool. In MM, a central focus or graphic representation of the problem is placed in the center of the page, and key words, connected to the central focus with lines, are used to represent ideas. Students perceived MM as an entertaining and interesting approach and thought that MM enhanced their learning. Most students preferred individual MM; some preferred group MM. The teacher enjoyed using MM and thought that it fostered student motivation in learning science.

Holland, B., Holland, L. and Davies, J. (2003/2004). An investigation into the concept of mind mapping and the use of mind mapping software to support and improve student academic performance. Learning and Teaching Projects 2003/2004, pp 89-94.

Abstract: Study illustrates the technique of mind mapping as applied in executive education and management development. Mind mapping brings a renewed sense of enthusiasm to the classroom because it tends to increase one’s sense of competence in mastering the assigned materials. In effect, mind mapping serves the purpose of enhancing one’s intrinsic motivation (i.e. those aspects of work that we do joyfully just for the sake of doing). Regardless of the reading load or complexity of the articles, mind mapping allows a user to grasp and depict the essence of each article on a single page. By analyzing a series of mind maps one is able to refine and integrate work across readings and articles into one coherent set of ideas, which are easily manageable and understood. The restriction of using just one page to capture the essence of an article or book chapter forces one to be efficient and thoughtful in choosing those concepts and ideas that are most important for understanding and for remembering.

Michelini, C.A. (2006). Mind map: A new way to teach patients and staff. Home Healthcare Nurse. Vol. 18, No. 5, pp 318-322.

Abstract: By marrying mind mapping with care planning, we have encouraged the use of critical, whole-brained, holistic thinking when applying the nursing process and using nursing diagnoses. Standardized language is still used, but the thinking that occurs has become more important than the language.

Nada N, Kholief M, Tawfik S, and Metwally N. (2009). Mobile knowledge tool-kit to create a paradigm shift in higher education. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management Vol. 7, No. 2, pp 255 -260.

Abstract: In this paper we have tried to present the theoretical foundations and the origins of what we call concept maps. While at first glance concept maps may appear to be just another graphic representation of information, understanding the foundations for this tool and its proper use will lead the user to see that this is truly a profound and powerful tool. It may at first look like a simple arrangement of words into a hierarchy, but when care is used in organizing the concepts represented by the words, and the propositions or ideas are formed with well-chosen linking words, one begins to see that a good concept map is at once simple, but also elegantly complex with profound meanings. Concept mapping has been shown to help learners learn, researchers create new knowledge, administrators to better structure and manage organizations, writers to write, and evaluators assess learning.

Paykoç, F., Mengi, B., Kamay, P. O, Onkol, P., Ozgur, B., Pilli, O. and Yildirim, H. (2004). What are the major curriculum issues?: The use of mind mapping as a brainstorming exercise. Paper presented at the First Int. Conference on Concept Mapping, Spain.

Abstract: This study looks at an example of collaborative activity in primary schools and aims to explore the ways visual material helps children establish shared meanings. Authors found that an exercise involving mind mapping software provided a useful focus for pupils to organize their thoughts, to present information clearly and attractively, and facilitate communication.

Toi, H (2009). Research on how mind map improves memory. Paper presented at the International Conference on Thinking, Kuala Lumpur, 22nd to 26th June 2009.

Abstract: This study is an investigation into the effectiveness of using mind mapping skills as a prewriting planning strategy in enhancing the quality of writing. Students were trained in the use of mind mapping in planning before writing their English compositions. Student compositions after the use of mind mapping were holistically rated by three experienced markers. Findings reveal that the application of mind mapping in planning is a useful writing strategy that can improve students' writing.

Zampetakis, L. A., Tsironis, L. and Moustakis, V. (2007). Creativity development in engineering education: The case of mind mapping. Journal of Management Development, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp 370-380.

  • Collection of hand-picked books on mind mapping and visual thinking.
  • Collection of case studies on mind mapping.
  • Collection of web resources on mind mapping.
  • Collection of web resources on visual thinking.
  • Did I miss a study, book, or a web resource? Please e-mail it to me and I’ll add it to the collection.

    Give mind mapping a try. It may be the key to unlocking the full potential of your teaching and your students’ learning, bringing a renewed sense of enthusiasm to your classroom.