What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Power Thinking

Organizing information according to new hierarchies

Going Mental

Power Up Your Brain: Myth vs. Reality

The%20brain
about 2 years ago

What's the Big Idea? Forget coffee and crosswords. If you want to supercharge your brain, you have to change your lifestyle. But only a few things about it. Here, we lay to rest some of the well-worn myths of power thinking, and give you the facts on what you can do to actually improve mental ...

Going Mental

Do Dogs Speak Human?

Dog%20phone
about 2 years ago

What's the Big Idea?  Perhaps the better question is, do humans speak dog? Either way, the debate over whether language is unique to humans, or a faculty also possessed by wild and domestic animals from dogs to apes to dolphins, is an interesting one. The answer depends on exactly how we define ...

Going Mental

How to Improve Children's Social Skills

Socialskills
over 2 years ago

The basics of social behavior come from the brain’s emotional system, which is an important contributor to empathy and morality from infancy through adulthood. Babies often cry when they hear another baby crying, because knowing that another person is unhappy makes them feel bad. Even rats will ...

Going Mental

Exercise Improves Self-Control

Babyexercise
over 2 years ago

What's the Big Idea? The idea of “brain training” conjures up visions of children playing educational computer games and senior citizens solving Sudoku puzzles, but a great workout for the brain requires no more equipment than shorts and a T-shirt. People of all ages who get a moderate amount of ...

Going Mental

How to Build Self Control in a Preschooler

Sandraaamodt3
over 2 years ago

Play is serious business for young children. When preschoolers stage a tea party for stuffed animals or visit the moon in a rocket ship, they’re doing more than giving their parents a moment’s peace. They’re improving their cognitive abilities, as the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky suggested ...

Going Mental

How Self-Control Develops

Dessert
over 2 years ago

As any parent of a distractible seven-year-old knows, the neural circuits involved in self-control are some of the latest-developing parts of the brain. This important set of abilities is worth the wait, though—as well as some parental effort. Parents can accelerate the development of self ...

Going Mental

Why Kids Need a Little Self-Control

Self%20control
over 2 years ago

We all know them: parents whose children run wild in public, allowed to behave in ways that make the rest of us cringe and calculate privately how we can avoid them until they're 25. (Though we probably won't like them then, either.)  This is not, of course, the same thing as the parents whose ...

Going Mental

Why Build Self-Control?

Cake%20with%20sprinkles
over 2 years ago

The discovery was one of those fortunate accidents. Walter Mischel, a psychologist at Stanford, was interested in the stability of personality traits. In the late 1960s, he decided to study individual differences in young children’s ability to delay gratification. His own daughters were ...

Going Mental

When Does Learning Begin?

Girlsinfrontofaquarium
over 2 years ago

What's the Big Idea? In a recent interview, the United States’ foremost educational historian Diane Ravitch told Big Think what really matters when it comes to learning, inside schools and out. Contrary to conventional wisdom, she says, it's not K-12 teachers who are most responsible for kids ...