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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Going Mental Posts

Demystifying the human brain

Previous | 1 2 | Next

Going Mental

The Neurological Origins of Religious Belief

Brain
almost 4 years ago

It has been known for some time that religious belief and behavior affect the brain—in the same way all habits, emotions and memories build neural pathways. But can we pinpoint specific chemicals, genes and clusters of neurons that give rise to religiosity, or to atheism? Rutgers University ...

Going Mental

Your Brain on Drugs: Dopamine and Addiction

4097561067_16cf6986ec
almost 4 years ago

"You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when it's waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye," wrote gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, no stranger himself to the compelling nature of addiction. As has been demonstrated many, many, many times ...

Going Mental

Bizarre Disorders of the Brain

Mind_storm
almost 4 years ago

Enjoying a piece of music or recognizing the face of a loved one seems like a simple, instantaneous process. But like all things associated with the brain, they aren't. Both these activities arise from complex, interconnected networks in the brain—networks that we normally take for granted, until ...

Going Mental

Is Schizophrenia Really a Black Disease?

O1
almost 4 years ago

Who decides what "insane" means? This was the major question of Ken Kesey's countercultural classic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," which illustrated how mental illness could be deployed by the establishment to crush the individual. But a recent book by University of Michigan psychiatry ...

Going Mental

The Neurobiology of Evil

Evil
almost 4 years ago

Is a person's propensity toward evil a matter of malfunctioning synapses and neurons? Michael Stone, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and author of “The Anatomy of Evil,” says it is.  Ever-more-detailed brain scans are revealing the biological origins of psychological ...

Going Mental

The Shaking Woman: A History of Hysteria

Document.php
almost 4 years ago

In 1895 Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer published "Studies on Hysteria," a series of case studies of female patients with bizarre symptoms that had no obvious biological cause. Some patients complained of convulsive seizures and others of temporary blindness. Anna O, the most famous of the cases ...

Going Mental

Why Do We Sleep?

Sleep_by_salvador_dali
almost 4 years ago

We spend one-third of our lives asleep—for an average American, that's over 26 years—yet sleep remains one of the biggest mysteries of neuroscience. With brain scans, scientists have learned much about what happens in our heads during sleep, but they still can't answer the simple question: why do ...

Going Mental

What Is Intelligence?

1390275600_b320e39a72_b
almost 4 years ago

Einstein said, "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." Socrates said, "I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing." For centuries, philosophers have tried to pinpoint the true measure of intelligence. More recently, neuroscientists have entered the ...

Going Mental

What Is Consciousness?

4606710941_3c124b138d_o
almost 4 years ago

What does it mean to be conscious?  It's a question that philosophers and scientists have puzzled over perhaps since there have been philosophers and scientists. In his book "Consciousness Explained," Tufts University philosopher Daniel Dennett calls human consciousness "just about the last ...