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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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Your Brain is a Testy Survival Machine. Slow Down and Think.

July 25, 2012, 5:21 PM
Brain_machine

What's the Big Idea?

Why do we so often form opinions about things that fly in the face of the evidence? We do this all the time -- whether it is the risks we think are associated with vaccinations or whether we see climate change as a serious threat. As an author and consultant on risk perception and risk communication, David Ropeik is obsessed with the question of why we make unhealthy choices, and how we can overcome our own biases.

Ropeik writes the blog Risk: Reason and Reality on Big Think and is the author of books such as How Risky Is it, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts. In the video below he tackles the big question of whether or not we are hardwired to be fundamentally logical people. 

As Ropeik points out, fear serves an important function, but when it causes us to get things wrong, the consequences can be disastrous. So how can we train or brains to close the gap between our fears and the facts?

Watch the video here:

What's the Significance?

David Ropeik says you need to know the brain’s instinct is to make quick decisions and to "lean on instinct and affect and emotion first to make them." The best way to make healthy choices is to give yourself more time, he says, "get more information from trustworthy sources and let the fact side of your reasonable, reasoning, rational, great computer up there play more of a role in the decisions you make."

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

 

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