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

Need a Little Break? Have a Blink.

December 30, 2012, 3:52 PM

What's the Latest Development?

While blinking lasts only a fraction of a second, researchers say the brain seizes the opportunity to relax a little, reducing blood flow to regions associated with paying close attention to the surrounding environment. "Most of us take between 15 and 20 such moments of downtime per minute, and scientists have observed that most blinking takes place near or at the point of an 'implicit stop'": If we're reading or listening to a person speak, we will blink at the end of sentence. During a film, we blink when an actor enters or leaves the room. 

What's the Big Idea?

When we blink, brain regions collectively known as the 'Default Mode Network' temporarily power up. This idle setting of the brain was discovered less than a decade ago and becomes active when concentration is not needed for specific activities like listening and reading. While our brain idles, our thoughts are more given to wandering: "We contemplate our feelings; we wonder what a friend meant by a recent comment; we consider something we did last week, or imagine what we'll do tomorrow." The mental breaks that occur when we blink can last from a split second to a few seconds before attention is fully restored. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Need a Little Break? Have a...

Newsletter: Share: