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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

How Science Makes Having Compassion Easier

July 22, 2012, 2:29 PM
Compassion%20ss

What's the Latest Development?

Experimental psychologists are learning that our sense of compassion, which helps us empathize with others, extends beyond the person we feel for and that we can actually train ourselves to be kinder, less prejudiced people. In one experiment, where people were given to punishing a person who cheated on the experiment's tasks for personal gain, less punishment was doled out when a female subject of the experiment (secretly in cahoots with the scientists conducting the study) began to cry and tell of how her brother had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. In other words, the sympathy felt for the woman carried over to others and resulted in less punishment being given to the cheater. 

What's the Big Idea?

Another experiment showed how strong and yet how easily forged are the bonds of compassion. Two subjects who simply tapped their hands on a buzzer at the same time, rather than at asynchronous intervals, felt more compassion for one another, demonstrated by their willingness to later help one another with some onerous word problems. The scientists behind the experiment conclude that we do not need religious or philosophical dictum to convince us to act compassionately toward each other: "Increased compassion for one’s neighbor, for instance, can come from something as easy as encouraging yourself to think of him as (say) a fan of the same local restaurant instead of as a member of a different ethnicity."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

How Science Makes Having Co...

Newsletter: Share: