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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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Brain Enhancement Pills: Controversial, Widely Used

November 13, 2011, 11:30 AM

What's the Latest Development? 

A recent survey uncovered that over half its respondents have used some form of brain-enhancing pill and a vast majority, 92 percent, would use them again. While the study was not representative of society, it gives a snapshot of an area where little data exists. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, taken for A.D.H.D., and modafinil, prescribed for sleep disorders, are widely available despite being controlled substances and unsavory drug addicts are not the pills primary takers: Students and professionals take them the most. 

What's the Big Idea?

Many people drink coffee or go for a run to increase their mental awareness so what is the harm in taking a pill? Researchers are increasingly interested in finding a drug that might benefit society as a whole by improving memory functions, the ability to plan ahead and by controlling impulses. And increasing concentration is only the beginning. Some researchers believe they can enhance cognition by manipulating hormones. One drug, oxytocin, enhances feelings of empathy and might one day create a morality pill. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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