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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 Scans That Read Your Thoughts

June 26, 2011, 9:01 AM
Brain_profile

What's the Latest Development?

The ability to read someone's mind is a concept which has long fascinated and frightened many. In a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, U.C.L.A. researchers sought to study how persuasive messages influence human behavior. "What the researchers found was that the brain scans were actually better predictors than the study subjects' own intentions of how they would actually behave, in this case, on whether they would use sunscreen after viewing an educational video."

What's the Big Idea?

While we rely on introspection to analyze our own behavior, what are the limits of our ability to know ourselves? "Although persuasive messages often alter people's self-reported attitudes and intentions to perform behaviors, these self-reports do not necessarily predict behavior change," says the U.C.L.A. study. By examining how persuasive messages work, more effective public health campaigns could be created to motivate positive behavior. Findings could also be attractive to advertisers who want to figure out the best way to motivate you to buy their products.

 

Brain Scans That Read Your ...

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