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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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

Can Traumatic Memories Be Erased?

May 1, 2011, 9:22 AM

What's the Latest Development?

A team of U.C.L.A. researchers, led by neurobiology professor David Glanzman, has eliminated, or at least substantially weakened, the long-term memory of marine snails. As a result, Dr. Glanzman says: "I think we will be able to alter memories someday to reduce the trauma from our brains." After the snails received electric shocks to their tails, scientists measured the reflexive contraction that occurred when the tails were simply touched, without administering a shock. After inhibiting a specific protein in the snails' brains, the team observed there was no reflexive contraction—the snails had forgotten they were shocked. 

What's the Big Idea?

Were it possible to erase our most traumatic memories, would we choose to erase them? Sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder—veterans of war, rape victims and other people who have seen horrific crimes—might one day free themselves of memory's burden. In addition, Glanzman's research into the brains of other mammals could prove relevant to treating drug addiction, in which memory plays an important role, Alzheimer’s disease and other long-term memory disorders. "We have captured the memory in the dish; now we have to figure out a way to target the memories in human brains," said Glanzman.


Can Traumatic Memories Be E...

Newsletter: Share: