Are You Thinking in Colour?

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by WOW Talks on 02 August 2011

Walk into any toy store on the planet and you will be joyfully overwhelmed by an explosion of colour.

Why the rainbow splash when it comes to child’s play? The very same reason that mind maps are always created in colour: the brain gets bored in black and white.

The mind must be visually stimulated by the full spectrum. Especially in its earliest stages of development, which requires a greater amount of input and variety, where colour is an vital component in the mix. So why have we turned down the volume as adults, preferring a monotone palette?

Studies have proven that the brain prefers colour objects. And yet somehow we have forgotten this in our society, considering it frivolous or non-essential.

Even schoolchildren are enouraged to jot down their notes in black or dark blue pen on white lined paper, preparing to become colour-free adults. The droll that this creates for the eye and brain can be distracting and create a wandering mind that absorbs significantly less knowledge.

Tony Buzan illustrates the power of colour in mind maps. He explains that when you look at a text in colour, the visual impact actually wakes up receptors in the brain, causing you to pay keener attention and remember what you have read.

The same information when presented in black and white is perceived as less interesting and the brain automatically wants to shift mental channels, resulting in a struggle to even be present with the text, let alone memorize and assimilate the information.

Colors can be used to “code” the content of your mind maps. For example, action items can be colored green, while concerns or problems could be colored red. The meanings of these colors are deeply embedded in the minds of most Western cultures (just think of a traffic light, where red means stop, yellow means caution and green means go).

Visually speaking, mind mapping goes much further than colour to bend and flex the most important muscle in the body … lines on a map are curved, not straight to reflect the organic forms in nature.

A map spirals out of a central focus instead of a fixed, linear note-taking format that we were all taught at school. Go ahead, play with it, and you just must see that you’re seeing more more than straight.