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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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Like Vinyl to Digital, Scientists Remaster the Brain's Signals for More Mental Clarity

September 22, 2013, 1:30 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Just as digital remastering of vinyl records eliminates scratchy background noise, scientists are using brain scan technology to hone individuals' ability to control the direction and precision of their own thoughts. In an experiment, researchers asked two dozen subjects to control a visual interface by silently counting numbers at fast and slow rates. "For half the tasks, the subjects were told to use their thoughts to control the movement of the needle on the device they were observing; for the other tasks, they simply watched the needle." Those who were in control of the needle exhibited quieter, more precise brain functions.

What's the Big Idea?

Just like the scientific double-blind test, technology may help us overcome our blind spots, especially in the murky world of neuroscience. Stephen LaConte, who led the recent research at Virginia Tech, said: "Our brains control overt actions that allow us to interact directly with our environments, whether by swinging an arm or singing an aria. Covert mental activities, on the other hand -- such as visual imagery, inner language, or recollections of the past -- can't be observed by others and don't necessarily translate into action in the outside world." In the future, those with neurological disorders may be able to help cure themselves.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Science Daily


Like Vinyl to Digital, Scie...

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