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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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Eyes Are the Windows to the Brain

January 15, 2012, 3:38 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Cognitive science has updated the old adage that the eyes are the windows to the soul. New eye-tracking technology in the form of video cameras, which record every miniscule movement of the eye, are giving scientists important data on eye movement patterns—where we look, and for how long—revealing important information about how we read, how we learn and even what kind of people we are. Now the eyes are the window to the brain and scientists are exploring how we learn from text and images, including those viewed onscreen.

What's the Big Idea?

Who is using the new data and how? Advertisers are better informed about where to place an ad so that you will look at it. Ads that move, for example, are harder for people to ignore. On the opposite side, scientists are using the data to eliminate distraction and improve focus. Psychologists Elizabeth Grant and Michael Spivey realized through experiments that guiding attention can guide thought, so if learners can be directed toward important information, they are more likely to solve related problems.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com



Eyes Are the Windows to the...

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