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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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Busting 3 Common Brain Myths

November 25, 2012, 6:41 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Fundamental myths about how the brain works persist in society, even among teachers with an expressed interest in neuroscience, despite the rapid growth in science's understanding of our thinking organ. The first pervasive myth is that we only use 10 percent of our brain. "Contrary to popular belief, the entire brain is put to use—unused neurons die and unused circuits atrophy. Reports of neuroimaging research might perpetuate the myth by showing only a small number of areas 'lighting up' in a brain scan, but those are just areas that have more than a base line level of activity; the dark regions aren't dormant or unused."

What's the Big Idea?

Two other significant brain myths are that (2) environments rich in stimuli improve the brains of preschool children and (3) individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style, whether auditory, visual or kinesthetic. Concerning the first myth, a normal environment provides sufficient stimuli to enrich a child's brain. Concerning the second, experiments performed by cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham have shown that "visual presentation led to better memory, but there [is] no relationship between the learners' preferences and the instruction style."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



Busting 3 Common Brain Myths

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