Exploring How Novel Ideas are Generated in Mind Maps

Year: 2016
Editor: Julie Linsey, Maria Yang, and Yukari Nagai
Author: Alex Leeds and Barry Kudrowitz
ISBN: 978-1-904670-82-7


In this study, we use mind maps as a divergent thinking task and as a tool for representing an
individual’s idea-generation processes in a conceptual graph. This allows for assessing the relationship
between ideas in terms of “depth” and “breadth.” The depth of any single idea in a mind map is a measure
of its distance from the central theme (number of connections from the root idea). The breadth of an idea
space is measured by the quantity of nodes at each depth. Based on prior divergent thinking research, we
expected to see individuals with a deeper average distribution of ideas having higher quantities of
relatively novel ideas. This hypothesis is not supported by our findings and instead the breadth of a mind
map is a better indicator of overall novelty. However, the uniqueness of individual ideas is related to

Keywords: mind maps, divergent thinking, alternative uses test, novelty, creativity

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