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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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Frontal Lobe

November 24, 2009, 5:46 AM
Brain scans have been used in a murder trial for the first time ever to try and prove that the defendant is a psychopath. The evidence was used by the defense lawyers during the sentencing of a murder trial in Chicago. The defendant, Brian Dugan, had been found guilty of the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and was awarded the death penalty in spite of the fMRI scans. “I don’t know of any other cases where fMRI was used in that context,” Stanford professor Hank Greely told Science. While the possibility of using fMRI data in a variety of contexts, particularly lie detection, has bounced around the margins of the legal system for years, there are almost no documented cases of its actual use. In the 2005 case Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court allowed brain scans to be entered as evidence to show that adolescent brains work differently than adult brains. That’s a far cry, though, from using fMRI to establish the truth of testimony or that specific structures within an individual defendant’s brain are legally relevant.
 

Frontal Lobe

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